Friday, December 2, 2011

Can We Expect a Husband To Be Faithful?

I saw something today that caught my attention. It occurred in the political arena, but my thoughts, I assure you, were anything but political. In the last couple months, Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain has risen from relative obscurity to near the top of the polls, only to then experience a precipitous dip in light of numerous rumors of extramarital affairs.

Author and commentator Ben Stein appeared on "The Early Show" on CBS this morning to discuss politics. The Cain situation was the first thing they tackled and Stein had this to say:
"I keep thinking to myself, yes, he is a sinner. Let him who is without sin among you cast the first stone.  He's not running for pope. He's not running for saint. He is running for president. We've had lots of presidents who had girlfriends. We had President Kennedy who was a great president, he had girlfriends. President Roosevelt who was with his girlfriend when he died, he was one of the greatest presidents that's ever been. Thomas Jefferson had a very well-documented affair. I'm not saying it's a great thing; I'm just saying people are human. We can't judge people by super-human standards." 
From a political point of view, I was not surprised by the comments that Stein made. I've gotten to the point where I'm not sure that there are any political comments (made by Republicans or Democrats) that could surprise me. From a different point of view though, I am enormously grieved by part of what Stein says. What especially grieves me is that I think most people in our culture probably share Stein's basic point of view on this:  He says, "We can't judge people by super-human standards."

Setting aside the topic of whether a candidate's marital fidelity is at all relevant, this comment prompted a couple of thoughts: First of all, while I'd agree that it is futile to attempt to hold others to super-human standards, when exactly did the standard of being faithful to one's spouse attain the level of "super-human?"  When I promised sixteen years ago to forsake all others, until death do us part, I harbored no illusions that my abilities were "super-human." And yet I made that promise, that vow, anyway. If I (or anyone else) should fail to keep such a vow, it isn't because we are NOT super-human; it is because we ARE sinners.

Secondly, while we might want to be careful about holding everyone else to super-human standards, we should never forget that God demands that his people not only be "super-human," but "holy" and "perfect" (Leviticus 19:2 & Matthew 5:48). This is, of course, something that none of us can or have done. None, that is, except the promised Messiah who 2000 years ago came for his people to be their covenantal representative, their sacrificial lamb and their long-awaited bridegroom.

This advent season especially, let us remember that "For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" (2 Corinthians 5:21). And let us forever rejoice that Christ is, and always will be, faithful to his bride.

No comments: