Eliot Spitzer and the Deacon’s Rule


And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? (Matthew 7:3)

Let’s call it the Deacon’s Rule: No matter who it is, no matter how holier-than-thou, no matter how beloved, no matter how high the hopes nor deep the passion, none of us is uncompromised. And the louder one’s cries of “Sinner!” the more likely to be found in one’s own heart sin.

It should have come as no surprise that New York Governor Eliot Spitzer was a sinner. (Who isn’t?) But he had so carefully crafted his image as the reformer, un-moved by the special interests, focused only on the greater good, that his constituents and even his enemies, considerable in number as they are, were stunned at the news of his moral breakdown. Even Jesus said to the (good) rich young politician “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God.” (Mark 10:17-18)

It is simply an impossibility for humans, whether political reformer or Bible-thumping preacher to remain unsullied by sin. That’s why the message of Christianity is not that one becomes righteous by cutting out all the sin in one’s life, but by accepting the grace of God who loves us in spite of that sin in our life.

It’s a pity that Spitzer suffered such a public and painful meltdown. But when he was looking at the specks in the eyes of his enemies, he was ignoring the reflection of the beam in his own.

That beam will get you every time.

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