Friday, June 26, 2009

Tell him no thank you

Another middle-age man bit the dust this week when 49 year young Governor Mark Sanford of South Carolina admitted to having an extra-marital affair with a woman friend in Argentina whom he recently visited on a secret trip. This follows last week’s announcement by 51 year young U.S. Senator John Ensign of Nevada that he had an extra-marital affair with a former member of his campaign staff.

Who can forget the news last March 2008 when then 48 year young New York Governor Elliot Spitzer was a client of a prostitution ring under investigation by the federal government? Two days later, he resigned as governor citing his “private failings”.

Last but not least, none of us will ever forget the scandal involving the sexual relationship between then U.S. President Bill Clinton and a 22-year young White House intern named Monica Lewinsky. The news of this extra-marital affair and the resulting investigation eventually led to the impeachment of 52 years young President Clinton in 1998 by the U.S. House of Representatives.

All four of these middle-age men committed lust, one of the Seven Deadly Sins, a classification of the most objectionable vices which has been used since early Christian times to educate and instruct followers concerning fallen man’s tendency to sin. Lust is not limited to acts of extra-marital affairs or adultery; it is more broadly defined as excessive thoughts or desires of a sexual nature including, but not limited to, sexual addiction, fornification, adultery, bestiality, rape, perversion and incest.

Wow! That’s a pretty heavy duty list very difficult for most of us to escape if we are rigorously honest.

Former President Jimmy Carter showed an amazing example of rigorously honesty about lust when interviewed by Playboy Magazine in 1976 when he said:

“Because I'm just human and I'm tempted and Christ set some almost impossible standards for us. The Bible says, "Thou shalt not commit adultery." Christ said, I tell you that anyone who looks on a woman with lust has in his heart already committed adultery. I've looked on a lot of women with lust. I've committed adultery in my heart many times.... This is something that God recognizes, that I will do and have done, and God forgives me for it. But that doesn't mean that I condemn someone who not only looks on a woman with lust but who leaves his wife and shacks up with somebody out of wedlock. Christ says, don't consider yourself better than someone else because one guy screws a whole bunch of women while the other guy is loyal to his wife. The guy who's loyal to his wife ought not to be condescending or proud because of the relative degree of sinfulness.”

Dear God, give the strength to avoid the temptation of sin so that when the Devil comes knocking, I’ll tell him no thank you.

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum