Keeping Your Oath

I was listening to the news the other day and heard a very interesting question. Should a person’s faithfulness in marriage be counted toward or against their ability to serve the public? We’ve seen how infidelity in the oval office has been explained away as a “private matter.” But is it really private? I remember a Saturday about years ago when I stood before a body of witnesses, and publicly confessed my faithfulness to a woman that I am still married to. That day really frightened me because I had to confess to private feelings and make public, lasting commitments in front about 200 of my closest family and friends, and before God. It sure didn’t feel like a “private matter” at the time.

Marriages are not private affairs. They are licensed by the state, and performed by a state representative, whether it be the justice of the peace, or a minister permitted to do so by law. If a man makes a public commitment to a woman before the state and a body of witnesses, doesn’t that have some effect when that man then swears an oath to office? If a man will not be faithful to a woman in marriage which he has sworn “till death do us part” before the state, how can he be trusted when he swears an oath to a public office.

In a marriage, it is much harder to be faithful than as a public servant. A marriage is built upon the thousand tiny decisions to be faithful; not to look after other women, not to imagine being with them, and so on. Marriages require far more diligence, more work to communicate, tolerate, and even love one another. Marriage doesn’t happen by chance, but by the thousand careful decisions to make it work that take place everyday. Stopping by to pick up a flower, just to say, “I love you.” Picking up the dirty laundry and doing it without being asked. Offering to take the kids out for a while so your wife can get some time alone. Marriage is built on selflessness, the thousand little decisions like these to make it work and be successful. It is much easier to be unfaithful in marriage than in public office. It is much easier to make a mess of a marriage than it is the governor’s office, because no one is watching, and few people care if a marriage breaks up. It happens all the time.

Public Service on the other hand is constantly monitored by the media and those after your job. It calls for greater scrutiny and accountability. You pay much closer attention to it because you have to make it work, or you lose your job. If marriages had that much scrutiny, there would probably be less divorces. If Marriage called for that much accountability, like some celebrity marriages have, then they would last longer.

Most importantly, the commitment you make in your marriage is made not just before the state, but before God. The commitment to public office may require a Bible to make the oath, but it is not made before God, but before Men. If a man can’t be trusted to honor his commitment he made to one human being, his wife, how on earth can he be expected to honor his commitment to a thousand, or three-hundred million? Can I trust a man to honor his commitment to me if he’s been unfaithful to his wife? In the end, we are measured not by our great decisions, but by our small ones.

You know what the secret to success is, in anything? It is embodied in Matthew 25:21, “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave; you were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things, enter into the joy of your master.” The one who gets the brass ring in God’s eyes is the one who has been faithful and a good steward of the things he has already been given.

Do you want to be successful in the new year? Faithfulness is its key. What commitments and responsibilities have you been given already that you need to work on? How can you demonstrate that you are “faithful with a few things”? When God sees He can count on you to manage a few things, he will give you more responsibility, and if you are faithful, more success.

Something to think about for your voting decisions.

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Published by

merittmusings

I've been in ministry in the Christian Churches/ Churches of Christ for 20+ years. Finished my doctorate in Biblical Studies in 2015. Serve today as a Hospital Chaplain.

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