Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Arrogance of Power

Once again a high profile man has been caught with his pants down. These sex scandals are occurring with increasing regularity: Anthony Weiner, Arnold Schwarzenegger, the French guy (Dominique Strauss-Kahn, who went after a hotel maid) – the list goes on and on. And these are just in the past few weeks. You also have John Edwards, Tiger Woods, Elliott Spitzer, and a host of others over the past couple of years. What’s wrong with these guys?

I believe the root of the problem is arrogance. These are men in powerful positions. They think they are above the law. They also think they’ll get away with it, despite most prominent men eventually being found out. Their enormous egos make them believe they are entitled and are invulnerable.

The Europeans, especially the French, take such fooling around pretty much in stride. The Europeans can’t understand why we get upset when our leaders do sleazy things. I was in England when the scandal broke regarding President Clinton fooling around with the intern Monica Lewinski. My English friends were all over me on that one, asking “What’s the big deal? Boys will be boys. What’s wrong with you Americans?”

Since Europe is in the post-Christian era, they have lost a lot of the morals and ethics that we still have, but which are eroding fast. We expect our leaders to use good judgment. We expect them to tell us the truth (lying was Clinton’s downfall, more than even the hanky-panky). We put them in positions of trust and responsibility, and we don’t like it when they have moral and ethical failures. I think they are reasonable expectations for those we have elected. After all, if you can’t keep your vows to your wife, how can we trust you with major leadership responsibilities? If you’re more interested in gratifying your lustful desires or stroking your ego than conducting the people’s business, we don’t want you in office. I think that’s reasonable.

When we see the mighty fall, it isn’t pretty. But sin isn’t pretty. These failures should be a wake-up call to all of us to not give in to whatever temptations come our way (and we aren’t immune even though we may be nobodies). Keep in mind that eventually, you will get caught. It might cost your marriage, or your job, or your career, and most certainly your reputation. It might not make the headlines like it does with the rich and famous, but sin will ruin your life. Remember these words from 1 John 2:15-17

Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world — the cravings of sinful man, the lust of his eyes and the boasting of what he has and does — comes not from the Father but from the world. The world and its desires pass away, but the man who does the will of God lives forever. (NIV)

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