We are often told that a person’s personal life should not influence whether a voter believes that he or she can serve in public office. In other words, one may be a gambler, liar or a thief at home, but what one does in his personal life has nothing to do with his ability to serve in public office. Of course this is a relatively new thought in our culture, but it has wide support, and I suppose as morality breaks down even further it will become concomitantly more popular.
For example, when a politician is discovered to have been unfaithful to his spouse, many seem shocked that voters consider that a disqualifier. Often such infidelities are summarily dismissed as a private matter having no bearing on the job they are doing as a politician.
But wait a minute. Isn’t public office a position of trust? Isn’t whether one keeps his word or not a political concern? If we cannot trust someone to keep his vow that he made to his bride before God and the people that love them most—and they apparently love the most—then what basis do we have for thinking he will keep his word to a galaxy of voters whom he never personally met, probably will never see again, and to whom what he does or does not do in private meetings is unknowable?
While we forgive, that is starkly different than concluding forgiveness means trust or that an issue that can be forgiven is synonymous with being irrelevant.