I couldn’t tell if she was being brave, defiant or whether she was still in shock at the tragedy unfolding before her eyes.She is the wife of yet another public figure caught in a sex scandal and standing before the press. The words are always carefully phrased. “I failed a high standard” or “I have let my family down.” But rarely is there an admission of guilt and especially there’s never a reference to sin. Sin is a three-letter word no one wants to discuss today. But that’s the word that best describes his actions that so terribly impact his wife and family.
It was revealed this week that New York’s crusading Governor Eliot Spitzer was caught frequenting expensive prostitutes in his Washington, D.C. hotel room. The scandal caused him to resign in disgrace, leaving his public career deeply damaged. The “why” will be analyzed by the pundits, psychologists and political historians. The former governor may even reinvent himself like other politicians who fell from power when caught in sexual indiscretion. But what will be the long-term impact on the man’s family?
This is not an isolated, victimless, crime based on one’s personal liberty. Eliot Spitzer has a wife and three daughters who will now have to deal with the embarrassment and confusion of this tragedy. How will it shape their view of their husband and father? How deep will this family disruption cut into their emotional fabric? Will it bring them together and make them stronger, or will this dysfunction affect them the rest of their lives? Will the marriage end in a bitter divorce? All of these questions are yet to be answered.
Sin, and that is what this was, has a high price. Regardless of the technical U.S. or New York laws he violated, Mr. Spitzer has broken the highest law, the law of God. Adultery, and that is what Mr. Spitzer has done, rips at the bonds of love and devotion that bind two people together in marriage. Spouses can forgive and go on from such disruptions, but there are lingering scars that often don’t disappear. The relationship is always altered.
Most hotel rooms in America have a copy of the Bible in a bedside drawer. Had Mr. Spitzer opened the Bible and read a few verses from Proverbs 5, he might not have been tempted to order in a prostitute to satisfy his physical desires. He would have been forewarned of the consequences of adultery.
“For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil; but in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword” (verses 3-4). “Remove your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house, lest you give your honor to others, and your years to the cruel one; lest aliens be filled with your wealth, and your labors go to the house of a foreigner” (verses 8-10).
But he did not, and now he will have to pay the penalty. His wife and family will pay as well.
Our nations are plagued with immorality. Shame is gone from the public arena, as we are too willing to accept a lower standard for personal conduct in our leaders, our heroes and ourselves. A study released this week of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) says that one in four teens is infected with viruses spread through sexual activity. This exacts a high cost in personal health and emotions. It rips apart the fabric of a society.
The past 45 years have seen great social turmoil and upheaval in American institutions. The family has seen much change. Marriage and traditional gender roles have been redefined before the drowsy eyes of a public amused into a near coma. The fruit has not been good and the tree continues to produce. Unless there is a change and a return to a biblically-based morality, we are doomed to go the way of other great nations, into a dustbin created by our own sins.
Our latest issue of The Good News carries a lead article on this critical issue of morality. Be sure to read it to understand the growing problem we face in our society.