News Flash: Mark Sanford is a sinner.
So am I. So are you.
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
That’s the Gospel Mark Sanford believes. That’s the Gospel I believe. As we learned once again today, living up to it is a different story.
What I am not, and what Mark Sanford may not be much longer, is a keeper of the public trust. That doesn’t make Sanford more of a sinner than I am. We both need grace. Lots of it.
But along with his marital indiscretions, Sanford betrayed his office. You know the story. He’s missing. He’s hiking. He’s hiking naked. He was none of those things. He was in Argentina having an extramarital relationship.
Sanford confessed today in a long, drawn out conference. It will be replayed over and over. He also resigned as Chair of the Republican Governor’s Association. What remains to be seen is whether or not he’ll remain as Governor. That’s for Sanford and the People of South Carolina to decide.
Twitter and Facebook and the Interwebs have been buzzing with the story all afternoon. comments ranging from jokes (some of the puns just write themselves), to accusations that all Republicans are hypocrites. This on the heels of the John Ensign story certainly doesn’t help.
Sure, there’s the double standard that says liberals and Democrats “get away with this” and Republicans don’t. But the Democrats don’t claim to be the party of family morals and don’t have a huge constituency of social conservatives and Evangelical Christians (granted some of that is changing). And in reality, a Democrat missing for a week then confessing as Sanford did really wouldn’t get that much of a break.
It doesn’t mean that morality and family values are wrong. It means, as noted above, that we’re all sinners. We all struggle. We all fail. And when in the public eye a leader falls the vultures are there to pounce.
I’m not pouncing on Sanford. He’s going to get enough without it coming from me. Nor am I excusing him. He failed. Miserably. John Ensign failed. Miserably.
So if you’ll excuse the double entendre, what I’d like to say to potential 2012 (and beyond) GOP contenders is simply this, “If you can’t keep it zipped, withdraw now.” Take that as you will.
Jenny Sanford did not come to today’s press conference. She could’ve stood by like Dina Matos McGreevey as the scorned but loving wife. Or she could’ve “Stood by Her Man” like Hillary “Chocolate Chip” Clinton. Instead she kept her distance and issued a gracious statement:
Psalm 127 states that sons are a gift from the Lord and children a reward from Him. I will continue to pour my energy into raising our sons to be honorable young men. I remain willing to forgive Mark completely for his indiscretions and to welcome him back, in time, if he continues to work toward reconciliation with a true spirit of humility and repentance.
Read the full statement in The State.
Mark Sanford didn’t personally sin against me. I’ve never met him. Never likely to. The worst he did to me was to dash some hopes of possibly returning sanity to the White House in 2012. So now we look elsewhere. But, he’s asked for forgiveness. And, as a brother in Christ, I’m called to give it to him.
Sanford’s political career is likely over. His marriage may be as well. Time will tell.
From a (non-related) friend’s post on Facebook yesterday:
“Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending.”
Let’s hope and pray that’s the case for Mark Sanford.