To the Point . . .
What is the "Real Work" of the American People?
The United States of America is in traumatic times with the House of Representatives voting two articles of impeachment against President Clinton and sending the matter to the Senate for trial. We have witnessed history in the making. I want to share what has been "turning in my soul."
Deep feelings emerge as I try to comprehend this event. Profound sadness is mixed with hope. Can some good come out of what is so tragic? Can the Lord bring "beauty out of ashes?" All of us find the President's behavior disturbing. We may not know the best response. Yet, I have been surprised and troubled by the silence across the Church.
As we reflect on this crisis, let us listen to the Holy Spirit. To aid us in that process, I want to submit four responses:
One of the arguments President Clinton made was, "It is time to get on with the work of the American people. It is time to strengthen the nation." I pray as a result of this national debate on personal values and public ethics, that truthfulness, trust, and integrity will form the foundation of our behavior with our spouses, families, and our ministries. God has a way of bringing "beauty out of ashes." Maybe this national debate over personal values and public morals is indeed the "real work" of the American people. Traumatic? Yes. Difficult? Absolutely. Soul searching? For sure. But ultimately, it will be good for all when truthfulness is once again established as foundationally important.
- Pray for those charged with governance, including President Clinton. Pray for good government, where justice and righteousness guide policies and actions. Pray for a spirit of truthfulness and repentance among us. None of us is sinless; all have fallen short of God's glory. Pray for an end to the "shell game" of deception and misrepresentation of truth. Pray for an honesty that follows through on President Clinton's promise to tell "more rather than less, sooner rather than later." Pray that President Clinton will leave us a legacy of genuine repentance and a clear commitment to truth.
- Affirm that truthfulness and character do matter. The notion that separates private behavior from public and professional life is bad theology and poor politics. We have been told that "this is the President's personal life" and that "it is none of our business." Let's reject such faulty reasoning. In any other profession and situation or for any other person, those arguments would not hold, nor should they. Character does matter. Honesty, integrity and creditability are foundations for life, no matter what position we may hold. During interviews following the action in the House of Representatives, I was struck by what one parent had to say, "It is very difficult to teach my children to be honest when such honesty is not present in our own President."
- Affirm that no woman be used and abused as the President as done. No spouse nor children should endure the embarrassment of wrongful behavior such as we have seen. What impact will the President's behavior have on the problems of positional power abuse and sexual harassment in the work place? I suspect any recent gains in protecting women from such behaviors have been undercut with the mindless defense of the President.
- Affirm the sacredness of the covenant and vows we take with our spouses. Pray that the national debate on personal values and public ethics will have a permanent and positive impact on our commitments. Minority leader Mr. Gephardt said that no one is able to rise to an "impossible morality." Is it really too much to insist that husbands and wives live within the commitments of marriage, to live in faithfulness and fidelity? I think not.
J. Vernon Myers, Oxford, PA
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