Today Minnesota Senator Al Franken has resigned after six women have accused him of inappropriate sexual behavior. His lifestyle, and that of many other congressmen, TV and radio personalities, Hollywood, and sometimes you and me are often the opposite of what we want to portray. This two-faced behavior violates the very things that make life peaceful and joyful. Over the past seventy-five years our culture and Christianity has made a deliberate decision to separate faith in God from daily life. Perhaps we have taken too seriously the erroneous and unconstitutional philosophy of “separation of church and state.”
We have become like the husband who loves with wife when he is with her but feels quite free to chase other women out of her presence. He may believes, that he loves her but his love for her and his love for other women do not intersect. This is a perfect example of hypocrisy. Hypocrisy is saying one thing with great sincerely but doing quite the opposite when we assume no one is looking.
This kind of behavior is destructive to the one who acts this way, to his or her family, co-workers, and wider acquaintances. We do not live in isolation. Our behavior greatly impacts the lives of other for good or bad. Too often I hear well meaning but misguided people say, “Pastor, I’m not going to bring my faith into workplace.” That has become quite obvious to all too many. Jesus however does not give us the choice. He insists that we must never separate our faith from our public and private lives.
Listen to his words in Luke:
Luke 10:25-27 On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. “Teacher,” he asked, “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
“What is written in the Law?” he replied. “How do you read it?”
He answered, “ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ ”
“You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied. “Do this and you will live.”
While the topic is eternal life there is a secondary truth that emerges from Jesus. Human beings are not just flesh and blood. We are made up of heart, soul, strength (body), and mind. Any attempt to separate one from the other in daily life, daily decisions, daily behavior is like trying to put your car in drive and reverse at the same time! Hitting the gas does not make the vehicle move but instead puts untold pressure on the transmission and engine. The end result is a burned up car!
Al Franken is paying a very public and private price for his behavior. We must not make that same mistake. So how do we align our private behavior with our public behavior? It begins with four very deliberate decisions.
First and foremost we must cry out to Jesus asking him to work in our lives so that we can think like him, talk like him, act like him all of the time. While we are human and will fall short this desire to know him and behave like him becomes our purpose for living. When we fail we repent and start over.
Secondly we accept responsibility for past sins that have hurt others especially if sexual abuse is involved. As hard as this may be, and there are consequences, it is a vital step toward peace and freedom for you and those who were hurt.
Thirdly we must reject peer pressure at work, school, or play and not permit the desires of others to drive our decisions. We must learn to say “no” firmly but lovingly. We must be able to articulate why we are not going to participate and stand our ground. Realistically we could lose our job or our friends but remember, we will be cheered in the kingdom of God.
Fourthly, if you are a business owner or have authority over others treat them as you would treat Jesus. Honor them and take care of them without expectation of reward. Remember, when you do it to the least of these my brethern you have done is unto me, (Matthew 25:40) says Jesus.
What choices are you going to make between your public life and private life today? If you do not make a choice you will behave no differently than those being publicly shamed. However if you consciously choose to know and be like Jesus you have an opportunity to bring life, joy and peace to a broken hurting world.