No Matter Who
In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping. 2 Peter 2:3 (NIV).
On one side of the political aisle, the presidential candidate was accusing his opponent of being a disloyal so-and-so who would bring about bloodshed. The opposing candidate responded in kind by attacking his opponent as a big government tyrant who wanted to be king. Both men were famous and accomplished; both said they wanted what was best for the country.
Sound familiar? Only if you’ve read about the election of 1800 between President John Adams and Vice President Thomas Jefferson. Vitriol knows no bounds, and it fairly split the young United States. That election ended up in the House of Representatives, where Jefferson was elected and Aaron Burr was elected as Vice President (Four years later, while still Vice President, Aaron Burr murdered Alexander Hamilton).
Or there was the 1860 election in which the man now regarded as the greatest of American presidents, Abraham Lincoln, was viciously slandered by two opposing political parties. When Lincoln won, one of those parties eventually led eleven states to secede and start the Civil War. Even during the war, Lincoln was called terrible names by his own people and supporters. How much things haven’t changed.
Were those stories, names, and such fabricated? Some were, some weren’t. The Ninth Commandment doesn’t seem to care. We are not to bear false witness no matter what; period; no matter who’s on the ballot, no matter who it puts on the cross. We are not to lie under any circumstances.
We are to remain truthful because most people seek the truth, seek to be part of the truth. Nobody likes being lied to, and nobody wants to be called a liar. Jesus knew this with the same heart that He knew how people IN HIS CHURCH would willfully lie, slander, and do whatever they needed to do to gain power. That hasn’t changed, either. Why, hardly a month goes by without some news story concerning sexual abuse in the church. Sex crimes, embezzlement, lying, tax fraud, adultery, violence, even murder: it’s almost as if the church is made up of sinners, in desperate need of a Savior. Good thing we have Him.
It’s nothing new when people we entrust with power – teachers, leaders, clergy, etcetera – abuse that power. Usually the first indication is how they’ve lied about it. And they need to be held accountable. We need to do what Peter would have done: tough love and discipline. That will only work if it is first begun with the love of Jesus and honest forgiveness. We need to call out the exploitation, caringly but in determination. Otherwise, we share in their sin, no matter who they are on the ballot, in the pulpit, or looking back at us in the mirror.
For further reading: Exodus 20:16, 2 Corinthians 2:17, 1 Thessalonians 2:5, 2 Peter 2:4
Lord Jesus, help me to forgive as You do. And help me to uphold Your loving standards and justice.
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