Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Word on The Cultural Attitude Toward Marital Infidelity

What do Bill Clinton, Jesse Jackson, and David Letterman all have in common? They have all used marital infidelity to enhance their standing.

I do not make this statement to make light in any way of infidelity. It is a breach of trust, breaking a sacred vow made before God in the marriage ceremony. It rips the heart out of spouses and children, and it is a tool to divide and degrade what God has made holy. I have some close friends whose lives have been touched by this topic, and it is easy to see why God provides us with so many warnings. My statements here are not about the act, but about our cultural response to the act.

In 1998 , Clinton finally admitted to an incident with Monica Lewinsky – a young-twenties aide on his staff…

In 2001, Jackson, a Baptist minister, revealed an affair and how he had fathered a child out of wedlock…

Earlier this month, David Letterman dropped the word that he had had sex with multiple women on his staff…

While all of this is terrible for the families and the children who are affected, it is of utmost importance to note that God can forgive these sins. Each of these men has the opportunity to accept that forgiveness and be washed clean. Each of them can humbly accept God’s grace. While God’s forgiveness can absolve the guilt, it is a much harder thing to imagine the offended spouses being able to quickly forgive and forget. I know it’s possible – but it is indeed a difficult thing.

But what really stuns me is society’s reaction to the events. In Clinton’s case, his approval status actually increased with the news of infidelity. Perhaps our culture thought that his sexual dalliance made him more “approachable” – more like the “everyday man” (though I sincerely hope that is not the case). During Letterman’s admission of infidelity on his own television program, the audience laughed and then cheered for him. This seems to demonstrate that marital unfaithfulness has become nothing more than a joke in our culture. Is it a result of our society’s increasing tendency to abandon God and His promises?

Get ready - the statement that really reveals the moral fabric of our culture is what one of Jesse Jackson’s biographers said after Jackson admitted to infidelity and fathering a child with another woman. Marshall Frady, in an incredible declaration, said these words, “It’ll hurt a little, when you’re talking about his moral evangelism with black youth. But this might, as it did with (Martin Luther) King (Jr.) lend him a complexity that enhances the moral grandeur of the man.”

When I read that statement in January of 2001, I was amazed that he could have gotten away with saying it (I saved the newspaper article for the purpose of writing about it at a later date). Adultery, committed by a prominent Baptist minister, could have the effect of enhancing his moral grandeur?! Do I read that right? Doesn’t that seem to be a contradiction? What has the definition of “moral” become?

The news of infidelity has not harmed these three men – in fact, it seems to have made them more popular than ever. Sadly, Frady’s statement may be an accurate description of where our culture is headed…or perhaps where it stands already. It is time for good men and women to stand up and say “No, I will not laugh at what God has warned against.” It is time for us to be committed to helping those who suffer to see that God can heal anything. It is time for us to defend the faith and the principles of God, without apology, and preach that man cannot enhance his grandeur by accepting Satan’s lies. Rather, what truly and ultimately matters is the glorification of God - not ourselves – through our devotion to Him, by yielding to His grace, and by acknowledging that He is Lord of all.

Because this isn’t a laughing matter.

No comments: