Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Toxic New Story

Tough times for the Spitzer family. Tough times for Christian news junkies, as well. The evening news has morphed into a peep show and I, for one, wish this story would just go away. If the primary headline isn't seamy enough, we can turn on the telly or fire up the internet and get an insider's look at the underbelly (literally) of the "high-class hooker" (is that an oxymoron?) as the media bloats the story. Is it just me, or does it seem to anyone else like the atmosphere is poisoned? T.M.I... big time.

When the news broke, I felt kind of, well, sad. I was sad for his wife. Sad for him. Sad for the polluted state of humanity. (I have a different adjective for Dr. Laura whose commentary from the nose-bleed seats was decidedly, uh, unhelpful.)

I was also reminded of a verse in John and a passage from 1 Corinthians. If you're discomforted by the news, I would encourage you to read John 16:33. Then, find 1 Corinthians 6: 12-20 for insight. We should be in prayer for Spitzer, his wife, his family, and all the women out there who are offering up their precious, God-given bodies as commodities.

There's very little obvious compassion for Eliot Spitzer at this moment. A couple years ago, I would have personally viewed him with brine-like contempt. But my vantage on sexual sins changed a bit when I took on the subject of pornography in a research paper last year. Not to mitigate the wholesale disaster of the Spitzer situation. But there is a context here. A prevailing condition--called sin--that shadows all of humanity, utterly crushing those who make the poorest choices.

When I studied the problem of pornography, I learned that exposure to sexually explicit material and subsequent discovery can lure an individual to the doorstep of an addiction, not unlike the better understood vice-like bondage of drugs and alcohol. If a threshold is crossed--and that line can be almost instantaneous or years in the making--then the ability of an individual to fight the addiction on his/her own becomes practically insurmountable (1 Cor. 6-12). This impressed upon me a certain sympathy for those who fail to do what Scripture dictates--the only recourse when confronted in the flesh with sexual temptation: to flee. (1 Cor. 6:18)

Since I'm in the nose-bleed seats as well, I hesitate to do a "Dr. Laura" and chime in where analysis is specious. Who knows why the Governor of New York did what he did and whether or not he is addicted to sex. But I had to check my own first-blush instincts on this story--to mentally club the men of planet earth--and allow for the fact that we live in dangerous times and that a wicked and formidable adversary is on the prowl "looking for someone to devour." (1 Peter 5-8).

I'm not inclined to sit in the bleachers and toss peanut shells and call Eliot Spitzer names. Though it's truly a challenge for the heart, I'm trying to view him as a person who unwisely took the bait. I admit I rolled my eyes when I heard that he was energetically busting prostitution rings on the job. The newscaster used the word "hypocrite" to describe him. That may very well be. But if you've ever had a behavior that contradicted your words, you, too, are a hypocrite. I don't have to go back too far to find some hypocrisy in my own life. In fact, I think it was just yesterday. As Christians, we need to run to the Word of God and encourage one another... refraining from terms being tossed about like "hypocrite" without first looking at the inevitable echo of hypocrisy--in all its forms--from within.

And until this story becomes yesterday's news... I'm thinking maybe I'll pass on the evening headlines and pick up a good book. Any suggestions?


Anonymous said...

After my first smirk of repulsion at the Spitzer situation, the holy spirit humbles me and my ugly pride and reminds me that God does not rank sin - even my "little sins" are still sins - a wise woman once wrote. Thankful for Good Friday today, knowing Sunday's coming and the sins of me and the sins of Spitzer can be white as snow. I'll pray for Spitzer and his family today - that they may be completely overwhelmed by the Grace of God through Christ Jesus - the love that cleanses us all. Happy Easter, sweet friend, Tammy

Sarah Onderdonk said...

Amen, sister. Reminds me to pray that this family finds its healing through Christ if they don't currently know Him.

Love, Sarah