THE BLOG
11/21/2012 03:22 pm ET Updated Jan 21, 2013

The Generals' Affairs Shouldn't Surprise Christians

Perhaps it should not come as much of a surprise to any of us. You take strong men and put them in foreign countries, away from their wives, for a long time. You add an attractive woman as a constant companion. Unfortunately stuff happens. Then add a major touch of jealousy and things get out of hand. Suddenly things have really gotten complicated with e-mails from another general to another woman. The question of financial benefits, "questionable loans," lobbyist influence have all been brought to the surface. It is not our finest hour. And suddenly there are issues at other bases of sexual misconduct.

It is one of the fringe benefits of the orthodox historic Christian faith that one is not surprised or shocked by these revelations. Within the historic Christian faith there is the acknowledgement that we are all sinners. "There is none righteous, no, not one." We have all sinned. We all have within us that troubling combination of "partly saint and partly sinner." When these kinds of secrets become known we are not shocked or surprised. We know that even the best of our breed has within her these forces that work to her destruction. Each of us has within us the best of intentions. Each of us has a "dark side" that emerges in different ways. The Generals acted out their urges in one way, maybe others express them in reading "Fifty Shades of Gray." The dark side comes out in some by selling bonds they know are junk. Some allow their greed to steal an idea from an inventor and get it made in China. The historic Christian faith knows that we are all sinners and do the evil that we would not really want to do. The historic Christian faith knows that. There are versions of the Christian faith now that never talk about sin and evil.

We are not surprised by such affairs. We are saddened by them. We regret that they happened. We mourn for the family, the wives, the children, the co-workers who are disappointed by the actions of their husbands, fathers and leaders.

The fact that we see the sinfulness of others ought to remind us again of our own sinful nature, our own potential for such actions and evoke from us a little humility and compassion for all. There is the story of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery in which Jesus suggests that the person without sin cast the first stone. No one threw a stone. They all were condemned by their own past. (Incidentally, where was the man in that affair? The woman was caught in the act of adultery, where was the man at this trial. The man was supposed to be stoned as well when caught in adultery in that society.) Certainly there will be consequences for the affairs, for these relationships that have gotten out of hand.

There is a world of different between a Bernie Madoff and his evil and these sexual activities. There are levels of harm that result from the various behaviors. We do not know the full harm that may have been done in these affairs. But those of us of the historic Christian faith are not shocked nor surprised by these revelations. And there is no righteous condemnation of these human beings. We can hope there is a way to redeem the future for them and for those affect by these events.