It’s a fact. We all need grace.
One of the highlights of this election season is how divided we are as a nation. The division is at a level where hatred has been exposed in sad and unproductive ways. Some believe the division is actually fostered and encouraged by some within the leadership structure of both major parties, because division of the people helps the oligarchy retain power and control.
The main reason I write about “non-respecter of person” issues is because, as King Solomon wrote so long ago, there is “nothing new under the sun.” Human nature and the quest for power, or “the ring” as referred to in J.R.R. Tolkien’s Lord of the Ring Series doesn’t change. Charles Spurgeon summed up our nature best when he said, “You cannot slander human nature; it is worse than words can paint it.”
When we watch reality TV, which is where millions of Americans choose to invest time on a weekly basis, we get a glimpse of human nature at its worst. Reality TV is a reflection of us, so why is anyone shocked with the Presidential Candidates we have this year? I begin that way, because the media highlights public anger about our choices for Commander in Chief when the reality is they represent our culture accurately.
As I travelled this week I listened to the book Hamilton by Ron Chernow, a biography of Alexander Hamilton, with glimpses into the lives of his contemporaries, those who fought to win Independence and lay the groundwork of our republican form of government.
Many look back at the founding of our republic with rose colored glasses, thinking all these men were exceptionally virtuous. While it’s true they were brilliant men who gave us the best form of government in history, which is based in Judeo-Christian heritage, they were flawed just like us and our current Presidential options.
Hamilton during the height of his service had an illicit affair and for a season paid bribe money to the husband of his lover. Jefferson had sexual relations with at least one member of his slave population. John Adams was considered extremely vain, always jockeying to ensure his position in history would be written favorably. Ben Franklin was known to engage in numerous illustrious affairs. Jefferson and Adams, who worked together to write our Declaration of Independence became angry rivals who didn’t speak for long periods. And of course many of them were tied to an evil economic system, slavery. Although hated by many of our founders, the battles immediately in front of them prevented them from ending slavery in their lifetime, though several freed their slaves in their wills.
The bottom line is we live in a fallen world. In that fallen world there are men and women in every generation, who despite their personal shortcomings, rise to the occasion to help restore good governance, even when they don’t always live up to the values we expect.
Moral failings always have consequences. Some failings are personal, and yield consequences for the individual and the individuals families. These consequences often pass into future generations. Some failings are public and have significant ramifications for the lives of those they lead. These ramifications also pass into future generations.
One of two individuals will serve as our next Commander in Chief. In two weeks as we go to the ballot box to consider these two, reviewing their failings is appropriate. I encourage us to approach their failings with grace but also consider the consequences of their actions on those they will lead.
Again, some moral failings have consequences for the family of the individual and some moral failings have consequences for the lives of those they lead. In both circumstances, the ramifications of the moral failings will pass into future generations.