I read several articles this week that caused my heart to break. The news has been full of articles about the Secret Service scandal in Columbia and being the political nerd that I am, I’ve read quite a few. None of them affected me as much as these two:
It’s easy to be shocked and disgusted by the news that men visit prostitutes. It’s easy for us to be aghast at the news that government officials engage in these acts while representing the United States of America abroad. It’s not a difficult task to condemn them for their indiscretions, the shame they’ve brought on their esteemed agency, and the potential endangerment of our President.
In our judgment, it’s also easy to forget that these men have wives and families and lives. They’re husbands, fathers, brothers, and friends. It’s easy to forget that some of them (and according to media reports, at least one) are likely fellow followers of Christ. It’s easy to forget that in many ways we are just like them. It’s easy to forget that we are just as capable of such sin. It’s easy to throw the first stone. It’s easy to forget the way that life breaks down when we sin against one another. It’s easy to forget how much our sin affects the people that we have promised to cherish.
What is far more difficult is the choice that Arthur Huntington’s wife, Jolie, has made. She’s chosen to ignore the world’s perspective of her husband and her marriage. She’s chosen to remain faithful to the covenant they made before God and one another on their wedding day. She’s ignoring his disgrace and the disgrace that he has brought on her, their children, and their marriage. She’s returning faithlessness with faithfulness. That’s no easy task.
Especially when this was your life:
“What else do we know about Arthur Huntington? Well, obviously, his wife runs a neighborhood Bible study and their two kids are home-schooled. A woman who knows the family told CNN: ‘I know him and his character. I would question the allegations.'”
I can’t imagine the pain and grief that she’s experiencing. She probably feels like she can never show her face in public again. She’s probably questioned everything about her life and her relationship with God in the last few weeks. She was seen as a spiritual leader for women and was sacrificially serving her children by educating them at home, among other things. Honestly, she sounds a lot like my mom and the kind of mom I’d like to be someday. Her husband was seen as a man of character – now their name is linked to a sordid scandal. His name is her name. His shame has become their shame. They’ve had to abandon their home and go into hiding because of the intensity of media coverage after his name was leaked to the press.
Jolie Huntington is exhibiting true love. Love that is greater than any sin committed against it. Through both her words and her actions, the Huntington marriage is presenting a perfect picture of the Gospel. They’re a living, breathing representation of the relationship between Christ and the Church.
Tim Keller talks about this in his book, The Meaning of Marriage. He says, “The power of healing love in marriage is a miniature version of the same power that Jesus has with us. In Christ, God sees us as righteous, holy, and beautiful (2 Corinthians 5:21). The world tells us about our faults, and we know they are there, but God’s love for us covers our sins and continues despite them. So Jesus has the ability to overcome everything anyone has ever said about or to you. In a Christian marriage, you’re living that out in miniature” (Keller, 149).
I’m saddened by our nation’s current “obsession with the after-hours activities of the Secret Service” (Tartar, nymag.com). But I’m further saddened by our refusal to look at our own hearts and see the same darkness lurking there. I want to believe and constantly be aware that I have the capacity to sin, as badly and as publicly as Arthur Huntington. I also hope and pray that placed in a similar situation, I would extend grace, forgiveness, and love like Jolie Huntington. I’m praying for the Huntington marriage. I want so badly for them to be completely restored and I’d love it if you would pray with me toward that end.