The First 100 Days: Blind Spots & Duplicity

[Today’s post is by Richard Exley, speaker and author of 30 books and hundreds of articles. The Indescribable Gift (out of print) and Living in Harmony were published through New Leaf Press.’ 

“I can only conclude that our President has a huge blind spot or his “morality” is based on political expediency. Either way it is a distressing scenario.”

Today’s blog is more than a week overdue. Like you, I’ve been busy but that’s not the problem. I’ve put off writing this post, agonizing over its content. I want to write something inspirational and encouraging, and this is anything but that. Yet, try as I might I cannot escape the sense that I must address this issue. It is like a fire shut up in my bones and the longer I delay the hotter it burns. I know I will get no relief until I write what the Lord has laid upon my heart.

Much could be said about this administration’s first one hundred days, but I want to focus my remarks on a troubling characteristic that has repeatedly manifested itself – blind spots in the President’s logic and actions. While there have been numerous incidents – things like pledging to close what he calls “tax loopholes” while filling several cabinet positions with appointees who had failed to pay their taxes, not to mention the fiasco about ending “earmarks” while signing a massive spending bill with over eight thousand earmarks in it – it is most obvious when he talks about “our ideals and our values.” His appeal to the high moral ground seems disingenuous at best and perhaps downright duplicitous.

Let me cite just one example. Apparently the President thinks it is immoral to waterboard a captured terrorist in order to elicit information vital to our national security, a position I could take more seriously except for his stand on abortion, especially his position on partial birth abortion. How can he be concerned about the morality of waterboarding a captured terrorist, but unconcerned about the morality of drilling a hole in the skull of a living and partially birthed baby, in order to suck its brains out?  Never mind that an innocent child is put to death, while a terrorist who is committed to our destruction is merely subjected to stress and discomfort, with an attending physician standing by to make sure he does not suffer physical injury.

President Obama contends, “…waterboarding violates our ideals and our values.” He says, “We could have gotten this information in other ways, in ways that were consistent with our values, ways that were consistent with who we are.” That may or may not be the case, but that’s hardly the point. It seems incongruent to me for the President to suggest that waterboarding violates our “ideals and values” while supporting a woman’s right to choose a partial birth abortion.[*] And to suggest that barbaric procedure is consistent with our highest ideals defies all reason.

Am I the only one who sees something wrong with this picture?

Faced with these facts, I can only conclude that our President has a huge blind spot or his “morality” is based on political expediency. Either way it is a distressing scenario so what are we to do?  

Honesty forces me to confess that when I consider things like this I’m tempted to become angry and judgmental. The fact that I feel mostly powerless to change anything only makes it worse. Then I remember that Scripture commands us to respect the office of the president and to pray for those who are in authority. Grudgingly, I bow my head and force myself to pray. I ask God to protect our elected officials, to fulfill His purposes in their lives and to return our country to righteousness and justice. Earnestly, I ask Him to forgive the sins of our nation and to save the United States from itself, for we are truly our own worst enemy.

As I pray, I’m reminded of the medieval nobleman who constructed a castle that included a beautiful chapel where he frequently retired for prayer and meditation. Not infrequently his prayers were interrupted by the screams of his enemies who were being tortured in the dungeon he had constructed directly beneath the chapel. Apparently, he saw nothing incongruent about praying while his enemies were being tortured and put to death.

Which just goes to show that we all have blind spots – inconsistencies that are readily apparent to others but which escape our notice. When anyone attempts to point them out to us we tend to become defensive, but if we can heed their rebuke we will have taken the first step in dealing with our personal issues. That’s what happened for Pastor Walter Wangerin, Jr. when his wife confronted him. Of that experience he writes:

“This is what she told me in the darkening kitchen that terrible Sunday evening.  This is what she made me see:  that this good pastor carried to the people of his congregation a face full of pity — 

“—but at our dinner table my face was drained and grey.  At the dinner table I heaped a hundred rules upon our children, growling at them for the least infraction.  Our dinners were tense and short.

“This is what she made me see:  that I could praise, could genuinely applaud, the lisping song of a child at church —

“—but I gave the merest glance to Mary’s Father’s Day card, in which there was a poem the girl had labored on for two weeks straight.

“…Thanne said she knew how much I hated to visit the jail.  But I went.  And it never mattered what time of day or night.  Yet I did nothing that I hated, nothing, at home.

“For counseling and for sermons, my words, she said, were beautiful:  a poet of the pulpit.  But for our bedroom conversations, my words were bitter, complaining, and unconsidered.  We talked of my duties.  We talked of my pastoral disappointments.  Or we hardly talked at all.”

There’s more but I think you get the point. None of us are immune, not presidents or pastors or anyone. We all have blind spots. The Bible says it like this: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it” (Jeremiah 17:9)?

To deal with my blind spots I have found it helpful to pray, “Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts: And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” (Psalm 139:23-24). And God in His mercy has repeatedly laid bare my blind spots, not all at once lest I be overwhelmed, but little by little. I’m sure there are many more areas in my life that need addressing, but I am confident that He will continue to work with me until I am finally the man He has called me to be.

If you want God to deal with your blind spots, to change, heal and deliver you, pray this prayer with me.

‘Lord Jesus, I’m so impressionable. I so quickly assimilate the attitudes, the characteristics, and the philosophies of the world around me. That’s why I so desperately need this time to be with You, away from the world and away from myself.

“Let me be impressionable now. Superimpose Your mind upon mine, make my nature and personality unmistakably like Yours. Leave me forever marked with this meeting, stamped indelibly with the evidence of Your presence. Amen.”

This is Richard Exley straight from the heart.

 

[*] “(President) Obama’s record on abortion is extreme. He opposed the ban on partial-birth abortion — a practice a fellow Democrat, the late Daniel Patrick Moynihan, once called “too close to infanticide.” Obama strongly criticized the Supreme Court decision upholding the partial-birth ban. In the Illinois state Senate, he opposed a bill similar to the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act, which prevents the killing of infants mistakenly left alive by abortion.” (Michael Gerson, “The Washington Post,” Wednesday, April 2, 2008; Page A19) 

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Check out the Straight from the Heart pod casts @ www.RichardExleyMinistries.org

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