‘There but for the Grace of God go I’

8 09 2006

I was thinking about our age of ‘naming and shaming’ and political scandals. Is it right that the press expose the private lives of politicians and celebrities to the world? How we should, as Christians, respond to such revelations?

It was a few years ago, when I first heard a young Liberal Democrat politician asked to comment on a Conservative politician’s public indiscretion on Newsnight. It was the sort of question politician’s dream of, the opportunity to rub the opposition’s nose in his or her own mess. You can imagine my surprise then when the aspiring politician replied ‘there but for the Grace of God go I’. It was that answer and no other that won my respect.

I think that sometimes it is not the publication of the truth that disturbs me but rather my own ugly and pious response to newspaper revelations. Rita Skeeter is not a complete work of fiction news writers do play with the truth. Sometimes they publish gossip and scandal, or the truth but with lewd details that indulge our own unspoken pretence towards self-righteousness.

We need to resist the temptation towards condemnation and self-righteousness, proclaim the Gospel of grace, recognise that the wages of sin are death, and that the cross calls us to forgiveness and reconciliation to one another and to God.

What do you think? Am I going soft?

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