SARGE: The Chasm Between Forgiveness And Trust

Well, the shoe’s dropped and landed on the toes of a man who proclaimed his “Christian and Family values” as a foundation for his candidacy to Congress. Congressman Vance McAllister admitted being caught on camera passionately kissing and embracing a congressional staff member. He tried to avoid capture and recordation of his ill-advised act by turning off the overhead light in order to get the kiss in the dark. He didn’t know he was standing beneath a camera with an infra-red (night-vision) capability. He was hiding the affair in the first place and he tried hiding it again. This shows he knew he was doing wrong.

McAllister ran on the “family values” program and gained the endorsement of a certain Christian family in the district houses their duck and deer call business. Their television show thrust them to the forefront of public recognition. I’m sure they’ll stand by McAllister and call for forgiveness according to their Christian values. I agree with them; by all biblical references I can find it’s required forgiveness be extended to the guilty. But, there is a penalty to be paid.

Adultery is one of the most frequently condemned sins in the Bible. It’s condemned at least 52 times. It’s prohibited in the Ten Commandments, the Gospels and ten books of the Bible. Only idolatry and murder are mentioned more often. The following make the case for understanding the Bible’s (and thus God’s) position on the matter:

“You shall not commit adultery.” (NIV, Exodus 20:14)

“But a man who commits adultery lacks judgment; whoever does so destroys himself.” (NIV, Proverbs 6:32)

“For out of the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, fornication, theft, false witness, slander. These are what defile a person…” (NRSV, Matthew 15:19–20)

“And a certain ruler questioned Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments, ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not bear false witness, honor your father and mother.'” (NAS, Luke 18:18-20)

“Let marriage be held in honor by all, and let the marriage bed be kept undefiled; for God will judge fornicators and adulterers.” (NRSV, Hebrews 13:4)

In the matter of forgiveness the Bible says:
“And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32

“And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any: that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.” Mark 11:25

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins….”  1 John 1:9

“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23

“Confess [your] faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed…” James 5:16


And, we disagree with none of this. But, it must be noted there’s a virtual chasm between the concepts of forgiveness and trust. Trust implies a voter places his faith in the individual. He suspends his disbelief in the candidate and allows that the candidate has great integrity and honesty. This has just been destroyed by the actions of the Congressman. When a person twists his faith to impiety and religiosity and shows his proclamations of piety and faithfulness to the scriptures are merely conveniences to be capitalized on; it’s hard to forgive.

It’s hard to forgive because the Congressman has said his foundation was solid when he knew it was built on shifting sands and had no more integrity than any man though he would continue to claim otherwise.

Please revisit Proverbs 6:32: “But a man who commits adultery lacks judgment; whoever does so destroys himself.”

I would pray for his forgiveness. But this is just one more instance where forgiveness doesn’t denote forgetfulness nor does it allow for continued trust. This is the point where many a politician has destroyed himself. Because of his deceit he will be judged by God.

But, he must be elected by men and women feeling betrayed.

Thanks for listening.

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