Compassion — not condemnation

March 13, 2008 — Leave a comment

New York Governor’s MansionIt’s happened again. Another powerful and admittedly prideful politician has been outed for serious sexual indiscretions — among other things. And it’s happened again: people can’t seem to get enough of the story.

Our voyeuristic culture seems to be obsessed with news that is sensual, titillating, and scandalous. However, the thing about the whole Eliot Spitzer situation that most troubles me is not the story itself — or the seeming obsession with it. As a counselor and minister, I seldom find myself shocked by sin. The thing that troubles me most is the attitude that even many Christian people have about it all.

I don’t claim to be an expert on the Spitzer family. I don’t know their religious background or lack thereof. I didn’t even know their party affiliation until today. However, I do know that whether by disclosure or discovery, this kind of sin hurts not only the individual but also the entire family.

I cringed on Monday when the story broke, as I watched various people interviewed and expressing glee at the Governor’s plight. Does sin have consequences? Absolutely. But I think Christians should rise above reveling in the sin, sorrow, and sadness of others.

What would Christ do? He would, of course, confront the sin with truth. But I think He would also demonstrate a great deal of compassion as well. In the present situation, we have a wife who is being judged for standing by her husband in several press appearances — obviously distressed and hurt. We also have three daughters — whose lives have been torn apart — now thrust into the media spotlight. This is not a made-for-TV movie; these are real people with real feelings.

Compassion — not condemnation — is the appropriate Christian response. There is none among us without sin. Sure, most of us have never had our sins exposed in such a public way . . . but Christ died for our sins as well.

I don’t know much about this family. I do know that he has a problem — and the family has a problem. That has probably been the case for quite some time. However, now the whole world knows about their problems, and that is a terrible pain to bear.

The reality is this: for every one politician whose imperfections are exposed to light, there are thousands upon thousands of other people dealing with the same kinds of issues. I urge you to pray for these people. Practice compassion . . . even when deep down you think the person may deserve exactly what he or she is getting.

After all, doing what is right doesn’t always come naturally.

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