Promises and policies have been unleashed upon us in epic proportions as this election campaign gathers pace. Detail upon detail is scrutinized, with each party highlighting the strength and benefits of their own party’s offerings, whilst at the same time picking holes in those of their opponents. In an election supposedly about trust we find the parties eager to demonstrate that the other is inherently less trustworthy, as opposed to espousing their own credentials on the matter. We might indeed be tempted to throw our hands in despair and ask “Who can you trust?” Is anybody’s word still good?
“The promises of the Lord are promises that are pure” says the Psalmist (12:6), in contrast to those of a politician whom we always suspect has an ulterior motive, not the least of which is to be elected. But it is more than the mere suspicion regarding motive which troubles us. When Jesus told us to let our “Yes be yes and our no be no”, he challenged us to be trusted for the words we say, rather than use them to hide behind. Jesus invites us into a place where plausible deniability is not an option, where our openness and candour give power to our words. Paul tells us that in Jesus, every one of God’s promises is a “Yes” – it is affirmed in full.
Of course, it is easy for us to critique our politicians on this, and criticise them. It is much easier to point the finger away from ourselves than to acknowledge our own realities. Whoever said that we get the leadership and government we deserve may not have meant that is a reflection of who we are, yet we could scarcely deny that we find it too easy to walk the same path of looseness with the truth. Ultimately our actions declare that we do not believe that God can be trusted in his promises.
Of course in our world there are people who get ahead by being less than honest and less than honourable in their dealings. It has long been so. The promises which God has made declare that, in the end, divine justice will prevail – all will reap what they sow. It is this which Paul affirms when he says Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and of spirit, making holiness perfect in the fear of God. (2 Cor 7:1). If we believe that God will indeed keep his promises, we have reason to persevere in the same manner of simple honesty and integrity.
So when we despair of our political leadership, we should take a moment to check that we do not walk the same pathway, but walk in fullness of truth.
September 19, 2004