Last week Kim and enjoyed a night out watching the new movie, Murder on the Orient Express. My wife loves a good mystery and especially loves Hercule Poirot. As we anxiously awaited for our movie to begin the typical previews announced and warned us as to what was soon to be released. One such warning came from the movie Fifty Shades Freed.
The next morning, I awoke to the news of yet another sexual misconduct allegation. This one was towards a politician or was it a Hollywood star, or perhaps it was a news anchorman? And yes…. often it is a pastor.
Earlier this year Mike Pence was heavily ridiculed for his stand regarding being alone with a woman. In 2002, Mike Pence told the Hill that he never eats alone with a woman other than his wife and that he won’t attend events featuring alcohol without her by his side, either. Also known as “The Billy Graham Rule”.
And…. the internet blew up. It exploded in disdain from those who found his conviction to be sexist and it equally was being applauded by many who found this to be refreshing among Washington elites.
I was among those who were applauding the Vice President. Clearly, his stand suggests that women matter to him and the most important woman in his life (his wife) matters more to him than all other women. I am grateful for men like Pence and Billy Graham who have not defamed the name of Christ. They are examples to me and millions of brother’s and sister’s who desire to live a life of integrity.
I remember starting off in ministry as a young man setting up such similar “rules” for myself. As a youth pastor, I refused to provide a ride home for teenage girls after an event. “No…. I am so sorry, you will need to call your parents, I have this…. rule…”, I would stammer out the words. I know some of you reading this blog think that was over the top. But, as a young man in ministry, I was aware of both my temptations and being found in a situation that could expose me to any sort of allegations. Rules like that have served me for these some 27 years of ministry. The fact is if I stayed within eyesight of other people and was not found in a car with a young woman…. temptation and accusations were averted.
We have similar “rules” or policies at Trinity Community Church in our children’s ministry. For instance: All of our Children workers are asked to not be found in a room with a child without a second adult in the room. Is this over the top in a #metoo culture? We say, no. Such policies are to both protect the children from misconduct of any sort and the adult from allegations. Another policy: Only members of Trinity can serve in the children’s ministry. This is to protect the congregation from us just tossing in new folks/strangers in a classroom of children. The safety of our children is paramount. Now, we live in a fallen world, and policies are not full proof. We are not ignorant, they are only as good as the individuals hold to them. And, sadly, these are the kinds of policies that are needed in our day and age.
Another one, my phone is not password protected from my wife. Seriously, why would any husband or wife need to password protect their phone from each other?!? Friends, we need to seek to live our lives in the light, in the public eye, certainly before our spouse and most definitely before our God.
The irony is that the internet is blowing up again as the latest scandal has CBS News and PBS firing a news icon, Charlie Rose. The only difference is that the disdain over this news and the other news like it is that it is appropriately one-sided. No one wants to turn on the TV to hear of yet another allegation of serious indiscretions! But, what is missed in our Fifty Shades culture is that building into one’s life some boundaries with the opposite sex is the opposite of being sexist. Indeed, it is a source of honor and respect towards the opposite sex.
The irony is further found in Hollywood when movies are produced to tantalize such escapades when those escapades then happen or perhaps…. don’t happen… misconduct often follows!
Now, at the end of the day, worldliness does what worldliness does. The Christian should not be surprised by the latest indiscretions. Nor, should the Christian be self-righteous about it as if we are above such temptations or indiscretions! But, may all those who call themselves followers of Christ seek to live in such a way that honors the Savior. Or, as Paul often puts it, let us live lives “worthy of the Gospel”. No, you and I are not innocent. Nor am I seeking to cast stones at Charlie Rose or others. “None are righteous, no not one” (Romans 3). And yet, the believer in Christ joyfully repents of sin and seeks to live out his or her life for Christ and not for the flesh.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.
2 Corinthians 5:17
So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.
2 Timothy 2:22
But sexual immorality and all impurity or covetousness must not even be named among you, as is proper among saints.