Dr. Doug Posey
As of this writing, it’s hard to remember a time like the last couple of months in popular culture in America. There seems to be a deluge, a veritable landslide of well-known people (exclusively men at this point), from politicians, to entertainers, to news anchors, to film producers and directors—just about every facet of public life, where there are high-profile names—being outed for “inappropriate sexual behavior,” or whatever euphemism is chosen to describe the offender’s behavior.
It should not come as a surprise that people in the world behave in ways that are less-than morally pure. Where would the gossip magazines and TV shows be if they all did? (Soap operas are exaggerated reflections of real life, aren’t they?) We can safely assume that the real-life revolving doors of multiple partners and manifold marriages amongst celebrities don’t result from serious adherence to marriage vows.
So, we know hanky-panky happens. It’s just intriguing to suddenly see a selective moral conscience of sorts in a world where the mention of morality would normally make one the object of derision. Of course, this sudden moral consciousness is not based upon a biblical standard, but one the culture can agree upon: was the immorality “consensual?” Interesting. What never seems to matter is the basic immorality itself. There’s a void of godly character, or concern for it. Not surprising.
We wrestle with these issues today as if they are new. They keep us glued to the TV and other media. Who’s next? But really, they’re as ancient as humanity. David sinned, one might say (although it could be debatable), consensually with Bathsheba. It led to serious problems, not the least of which was the murder of her husband, Uriah the Hittite.
Fast-forward to the next generation. David’s son, Amnon desperately lusts after his half-sister, Tamar. He connives his way into a non-consensual, inappropriate sexual encounter (it’s rape) with her. Culturally, she now looks like a prostitute as a result. She is shamed…ruined. The debacle leads to David’s other son, Absolom, full brother of Tamar, avenging her and having Amnon killed. The kingdom is eventually split over it. Absalom’s relationship with David is never the same.
But, where did Amnon learn the immoral behavior? Unfortunately, he knew his father had abused his authority to get what he wanted with Bathsheba. As one pastor put it, “The first ingredient to a dysfunctional home is setting a bad example.” And that’s exactly what David had done for his oldest son Amnon. He was likely 17 or 18 years old when David took another man’s wife into his bedroom, slept with her and ultimately had her husband killed to cover up the resulting pregnancy. Character matters. Those who respect us are watching.
I have great respect for David in terms of his confession, his broken and contrite heart over his sin. God gave him grace. But, his lack of integrity from a position of leadership brought severe, ongoing consequences. He and his family were never the same. Every decision must be weighed before the resulting act that could affect generations to come.
We see it in once-successful ministries; pastors who make immoral choices. Like those in the spotlight we’re currently seeing in various other walks of life, “inappropriate sexual behavior” topples the work of pastors too. Unfortunately, their pattern is often to see themselves as so indispensable to the Kingdom that they waste little time jumping back into the pulpit. Some (and I’ve talked to them) cite David as their excuse. I’ve gently reminded one or two, “God never anointed you as king or gave you an everlasting throne.” Not only do they damage the reputation of Christ, but if they minimize their behavior, they give tacit permission to those who look to them with respect to do the same. Another victory for the evil one.
We sometimes make the terrible mistake of overlooking the grief we cause God in choosing to violate His moral standards and exploit His grace. But, perhaps if we consider the consequences of the damage we do to others, especially those looking to us with respect, it will serve as a second net of protection against a damaging decision.
“…prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world” ─PHILIPPIANS 2:14-15