By Richie Thetford
A few weeks ago we listened to our president admit to an inappropriate sexual relationship which he denied on January 26. The leader of our country has now admitted to more than one adulterous relationship and has been caught lying on numerous occasions. Yet he claims that his personal life is a private matter! A private matter that has touched the lives of all the American people and the millions of people in foreign lands.
Because of his “private, personal life” he has embarrassed an entire country, his wife, his daughter, and tarnished his name for evermore. He has become a laughing stock among the various countries and here at home. But even worse, the office of the president of the United States of America has become tainted because of his personal conduct!
It was said of Ronald Reagan that when he went into the oval office that he would put on his suit jacket out of respect for the men that had served in this position before and respect for the office itself. What has happened to the leadership of our country and the things that our country will tolerate today.
Let’s look at some lessons that we can learn from the events of this past week:
A Good Name is Precious
Whether in our public or private life our good name is worth everything. Solomon wrote: “A good name is to be chosen rather than great riches, loving favor rather than silver and gold” (Prov. 22:1). “A good name is better than precious ointment” (Eccl. 7:1). In many cases, sin and the pleasures of this world are being chosen over their “good name” by people of this world, including our leaders. We can lose our money and even our possessions and still be able to keep our good name. Nobody can take our good name from us, that is something we give up voluntarily! Once lost, we cannot regain our good name overnight. It is like respect in that it must be earned — not bought.
Adultery is Not a Private Matter
When David committed adultery with Bathsheba and Nathan pointed it out to him, what did David do? Did he lie and say, “I never had sexual relations with that woman, Miss Bathsheba?” Did he get angry at Nathan for his prolonged story telling of the matter? No, he admitted that he had sinned. And not just sin against himself or Bathsheba, but he sinned against the Lord! He showed remorse and was repentant.
The sin of adultery is not a personal, private matter. When one commits adultery that means there is another party involved, his spouse. In this country today there are all kinds of sexually transmitted diseases including AIDS. Therefore, is it a personal, private matter when your spouse gets AIDS or any other disease because you chose to lose your good name and commit adultery? It is
because of these things that the word of God says: “Marriage is honorable among all, and the bed undefiled; but fornicators and adulterers God will judge. Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you’” (Heb. 13:4-5).
Adultery and fornication are not personal private matters because it involves another. Anytime another individual is involved then there will be yet another, then another, then another, then another, etc. Many different individuals have the potential to be effected because of our personal actions!
Lying is Not a Private Matter
In the garden of Eden, the father of lies, Satan (John 8:44), showed that the lie is not a “private matter,” but rather very public. In this case it would affect all future people. “And the woman said to the serpent, ‘We may eat the fruit of the trees of the garden; but of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God has said, You shall not eat it, nor shall you touch it, lest you die.’ Then the serpent said to the woman, ‘You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil’”(Gen. 3:2-5).
This lie made Adam and Eve look foolish when they stood before God later. Our president’s lie of January 26 made many of his personal supporters look foolish this past week. He openly lied when he said: “I did not have sexual relations with that woman, Miss Lewinski.” His personal supporters, based upon that lie, stood by him and spoke as if they knew personally that he was telling the absolute truth. Even his wife came to his defense — believing in him. Then when he did tell the truth, admitting to the affair, he lost credibility among his best friends and supporters.
It is for that very reason the word of God says: “Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds . . .” (Col. 3:9). “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie” (Rev. 22:14-15). Lying has never been a private or personal matter. It takes two in the process — one to lie and the other to hear it. Lying affects many people and causes one to lose their good name.
Truth is Respected
Jesus said: “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” We all will make mistakes in our life. But what will we do with those mistakes? Will we try to lie, mislead people, or be honest. We will gain respect and keep our good name when we are up front, honest, and truthful with people, while having nothing to hide that would be shameful before God.
We will be judged based upon what we say or do and our obedience to the words of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10; John 12:48). The things that we say and do will and do affect the lives of others. It affects others directly or indirectly. If we are to keep our good name, to keep it untarnished, we must always strive to please God in all aspects of our life. If we do that, we will be respected and loved among men. But, in order to do that, we must continually do as David and Paul said: “Examine me, O Lord, and prove me; try my mind and my heart” (Ps. 26:2). “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? — unless indeed you are disqualified” (2 Cor. 13:5). May God be with us as we strive to do what is right in his sight knowing that our personal life is not a private matter.