This weekend Republican contender for the presidential nomination, Herman Cain suspended his campaign because of the recent allegations several women have brought forth, the latest who claimed a 13 year extramarital affair with Mr. Cain. Although no allegations have been substantiated and both the motives and backgrounds of several ladies who have brought forth these allegations questioned, Mr. Cain had determined that it was in the best interest of his family to remove himself from further campaigning.
Several other candidates on both sides have been criticized for a variety of reasons: their affiliation with anti government fanatics, stand on abortion, religious persuasion, involvement with specific lobbyists, financial background, tax evasion, and even lapses in memory.
While there is a huge difference between forgetting what you want to say and forgetting a vow you took to remain faithful; one thing is certain: The person whose job it is to lead the country must not only be above reproach but also at the top of his/her game mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually.That leaves Christians with a major dilemma. Who do we know that is unblemished in any area? Who do we have that has not made mistakes,succumbed to political pressure, turned a blind eye to the obvious, given in to popular culture, diverted attention from shortcomings, been irresponsible and to put it succinctly…not sinned in at least some way.
I want the country led by someone with exceptional moral standards and the resolve to bypass popular notion and lead by example. I want the country led by someone who is willing to make extraordinary sacrifices to redeem our current economic status and who is not deterred or persuaded by those who hold the power over what bills come before congress or what gets passed on the Senate floor. I want a leader who is both compassionate but strong willed, someone who means what they say not just before they enter office but long into their presidency. I want someone who listens to the “little people” and not just for media attention but for the specific reason that people matter. I want someone who will remove unjust politicians, unhealthy pandering and irresponsible spenders and develop a strong following of individuals who do not waiver in resolve to do the right thing…but Jesus is not running!
So what then should Christians expect from those seeking office and what should we not permit? While we want a strong moral fiber and impressive character is it too much to expect a perfect match? If mere mortals are assuming this position do we need to remember how easily sin comes to man? Is it too much to ask for character beyond reproach? The country has been led by people who called themselves Christian for decades who also were involved in less than Christian behavior. John F. Kennedy was a philanderer and also had significant health problems, Richard Nixon was untrustworthy and deceitful, Lincoln, Harding, Cleveland and even FDR were reported to have had extramarital affairs some even fathering children outside of their marriage. The Clinton administration was rocked with scandalous behavior, as was George Bush’s if not for a different reason, Truman and Harrison were both said to have sat by while illegal deals were made during their terms in office. Ronald Reagan was said to have illegally funnel weapons to Iran and voted against the Apartheid, later in office his memory lapses due to Alzheimer’s were said to have become evident, Lincoln was severely depressed to the point of suicide and Jimmy Carter was thought to have been a good man but a weak leader; indecisive and often uninformed and inexperienced.
The list could easily go on. So how do you pick a leader among men? Biblical immorality was evident as well. When Jesus was born a man, he came from the lineage of David, who although a remarkable king, also had an affair with the wife of the man who led his army and later had that same man placed in the front of the battle line to be killed. Solomon said to have been the wisest ever asking God for wisdom, taxed his kingdom unmercifully to continue his opulent lifestyle.
Obviously a perfect man or woman does not exist. What should we as Christians expect from someone who hopes to lead us? What are we willing to forgive and why? These questions require more than just a moment’s thought. History has revealed the flaws of many and will continue to do so. We may advocate for full disclosure but must remember the words, “…Let him who has no see cast the first stone.” (John 8:7)
Perhaps for now, all we can ask is that God in His divine wisdom reveal the direction He wants us to go in supporting a candidate. But unless this be truly Pollyanna behavior, we must also remember something else: His kingdom is not of this world and regardless of what we discover about someone whose job it may be to lead a nation, God will deal with them as He sees fit and we will never find a flawless leader this side of heaven.