I worked in the White House during the first Bush administration. I remember that the president was so mindful of being above reproach when it came to interactions with female staff, he often wouldn’t even make direct eye contact with them.
He was an upright man, who took seriously his wedding vows to honor his wife and “forsake all others.” He took to heart the words of the Apostle Paul, who warned those of us who endeavor to lead righteous lives to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.
David Petraeus obviously did not heed the Apostle’s counsel. Otherwise, he would not have resigned this past Friday as President Obama’s CIA Director, following the revelation of his adulterous affair with Paula Broadwell, the home-wrecker who co-authored his biography, “All In: The Education of Gen. David Petraeus.”
The retired four-star Army general, who met Broadwell when she was an Army Reserve officer, has disgraced himself like no high-ranking federal official since former President Bill Clinton (who not only made direct eye contact with female White House staffers, but also even more promiscuous contact with a certain White House intern).
Now I know that roughly one in five men have committed adultery at least once in their married lives, according to surveys.
I also imagine that at least half of married men have, at some point, been some place, like a “gentlemen’s club,” or done some thing, like have an “erotic massage,” that may not rise to the level of adultery, but certainly dishonors their wives.
Because it’s fairly common for men to be unfaithful to their wives, because it’s even more common for men to dishonor their wives, doesn’t mean it should be accepted as a fact of life. It doesn’t mean we shouldn’t expect more of Gen. Petraeus (or any of the rest of us married men, for that matter).
It’s all about whether we’re going to follow Christ, who admonished “that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Or whether we’re going to fall into the snares set for us by our enemy, the devil.
It all gets back to the Apostle Paul’s counsel that we “take captive every thought.” For every sin, every stronghold in our lives – wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, gluttony – began as an unGodly thought.
Indeed, Petraeus didn’t immediately plunge into his adulterous affair with Broadwell.
First he entertained lustful thoughts about her. Then he imagined himself trysting with the scarlet woman. Then he put his thoughts into action, setting into motion the events that led to his current ignominy.
For those among us who, like Petraeus, have secret sin in our lives, let the ruin of his heretofore distinguished career, the probable destruction of his marriage, be a cautionary tale.
He enjoyed the pleasures of sin for a season. But now he has hell to pay.