Our nation is currently fixed on the supreme court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh. What can we learn from this?
Proverbs 22:1 A good name is to be chosen over great wealth; favor is better than silver and gold.
One phrase that Judge Kavanaugh has kept repeating is “My good name.” The whole situation affects a lifetime of work and his name is in jeopardy. Having a good name is incredibly valuable and these allegations are an example as to why. Good or bad, Judge Kavanaugh’s character is on the line and is being scrutinized.
This is the verse that keeps coming to mind as I am challenged by this situation. Keep this verse in mind as you read through this post.
Much has been written about this case, both for why each party is innocent or guilty. This post is not to help you decide one way or the other but rather some warnings and reminders on how we should live as Christians in the 21st century.
1. Dangers of Alcohol Intoxication.
A key component from the hearing revolved around Judge Kavanaugh’s drinking habits. He spoke very clearly that he drank a lot in high school and college. He also made mention that he still drinks. Obviously, we do not know how much he drinks currently. But in light of the allegations and his testimony, his past drinking habits are not only casting a shadow on his testimony but also on his future ability to judge fairly.
Who has woe? Who has sorrow?
Who has conflicts? Who has complaints?
Who has wounds for no reason?
Who has red eyes?
30 Those who linger over wine;
those who go looking for mixed wine.
31 Don’t gaze at wine because it is red,
because it gleams in the cup
and goes down smoothly.
32 In the end it bites like a snake
and stings like a viper.
33 Your eyes will see strange things,
and you will say absurd things.[g] 34 You’ll be like someone sleeping out at sea
or lying down on the top of a ship’s mast.
35 “They struck me, but[h] I feel no pain!
They beat me, but I didn’t know it!
When will I wake up?
I’ll look for another drink.”
Ephesians 4: 18 And don’t get drunk with wine, which leads to reckless living, but be filled by the Spirit.
So what can we learn from these verses?
Be careful with your consumption of alcohol. The passage in Proverbs talks about how alcohol (drinking enough to influence us) affects our ability to think and act. We need to be aware of the dangers and set boundaries so that we do not place ourselves or the Gospel in a compromising situation.
As we are learning from this story of Kavanaugh, being drunk can open the door to many things that are out of your control. It can ruin your reputation and character.
2. Sexual Abuse is a problem.
The problem of sexual abuse has received a lot more news over the last few years. And this story highlights the nightmare of a victim (it is not clear at this time what the timing or the people that were involved). But what we do know is that sexual abuse is real and can cause lifetime problems for victims.
As Christians, we are called to stand up for others
Proverbs 31:8-9 Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.
Isaiah 1:17 Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.
When people are hurting, we should be the first there to help. If someone is being hurt, we should rise up to defend. We should not be perpetrators in a crime against another human being. But instead, strive to treat others with love (Matthew 22:39). And bring justice to those who need it. As Christians, we should be leading the charge against sexual abuse. And not hide behind the shadows, waiting for someone else to pick up the mantle.
If you are a victim, I want to encourage you to speak up. I know that this can be VERY difficult. But there is a ned to do so for justice to be served and to help with healing. There are many organizations that would love to help you, not only from a legal aspect but also help provide you with Biblical counseling as you navigate this travesty in your life.
I cannot imagine what you have been through. Hearing stories of these horrible things happening to other people make me angry for you. My heart hurts to hear. You are GREATLY loved. Find help from others and hope from Christ. God is always bigger than our journey and he will walk with you.
3. People are innocent until proven guilty
One of the principles that have guided our law, is being innocent until proven guilty. Here is what the Bible says.
“One witness is not enough to convict anyone accused of any crime or offense they may have committed. A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. If a malicious witness takes the stand to accuse someone of a crime, the two people involved in the dispute must stand in the presence of the LORD before the priests and the judges who are in office at the time.
The judges must make a thorough investigation, and if the witness proves to be a liar, giving false testimony against a fellow Israelite, then do to the false witness as that witness intended to do to the other party. You must purge the evil from among you. The rest of the people will hear of this and be afraid, and never again will such an evil thing be done among you. 21 Show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot” (Deut 19:15-19).
Numbers 35:30 – “Anyone who kills a person is to be put to death as a murderer only on the testimony of witnesses. But no one is to be put to death on the testimony of only one witness.”
We live in a world that has the news at their fingertips through social media. The problem is that it is tempting to immediately react to a news story. We make a judgment without knowing the facts. Sometimes news does not come from credible sources and are untrue. And at times it takes a LONG investigation to clarify what really did happen.
There have been people over the last few years that have been proven innocent of crimes that they were accused (look up the Duke Lacross case). But there are also people who are put in jail years after the fact. Regardless, we cannot presume that someone is innocent or guilty when news first comes out about someone.
As Christians, we cannot assume or presume that anyone is guilty just because someone says that they did something wrong. This goes for any kind of situation, whether lying, cheating, stealing, pornography, cheating on someone or other sins. Always find out the truth before making a decision on a situation. Find out the facts of the matter. Many times it will confirm your suspicions but sometimes it will change what you thought had happened. You do not want to make a rash decision in the heat of the moment.
When we do not take our time to find out the facts, relationships suffer (our kids, spouse, family member, significant other, friends etc), lives are changed and someone’s character takes a hit. Allegations can destroy someone, even if things are not true.
If you need to take a step back, do so, but wait until you have the facts. You will never regret having waited to know the truth.
4. Do not be alone with someone of the opposite sex who is not your spouse
I think of the story of Joseph and Potiphar’s wife in Genesis 39. Joseph was put in charge of everything in his master’s house. But Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce him. When he resisted, she grabbed his cloak.
10 Although she spoke to Joseph day after day, he refused to go to bed with her.[f]11 Now one day he went into the house to do his work, and none of the household servants were there.[g] 12 She grabbed him by his garment and said, “Sleep with me!” But leaving his garment in her hand, he escaped and ran outside. 13 When she saw that he had left his garment with her and had run outside, 14 she called her household servants. “Look,” she said to them, “my husband brought a Hebrew man to make fools of us. He came to me so he could sleep with me, and I screamed as loud as I could. 15 When he heard me screaming for help,[h] he left his garment beside me and ran outside.”
16 She put Joseph’s garment beside her until his master came home. 17 Then she told him the same story: “The Hebrew slave you brought to us came to make a fool of me, 18 but when I screamed for help, he left his garment beside me and ran outside.”
19 When his master heard the story his wife told him—“These are the things your slave did to me”—he was furious 20 and had him thrown into prison, where the king’s prisoners were confined. So Joseph was there in prison.
If you are unfamiliar with the story of Joseph, God does end up using this situation to make Joseph the 2nd most powerful man in all of Egypt and uses him greatly.
But to the point. If Joseph had other people in the house, this situation might not have happened. In our world of sexual abuse and scandals, keep your character and do what it takes to make sure that no one can blame you for something.
“The example here is that regardless of absolute truth, allowing any room for question leaves little room for just defense.” (Chandler Elise)
So if temptation comes your way, RUN. If you are single and are tempted to have someone at your place/room when you are alone, RUN. All it takes is 1 person to claim that you did something wrong and your life could be ruined (and no I am not referring to Brett Kavanaugh here).
It is better to be too safe than to let your guard down and something happens that comes back to bite you. I know that it can change the way you do things, but it is needed in this culture of ours.
5. Living above reproach is a now decision, not something for laterIt takes a lifetime to build character but a moment to lose it Click To Tweet
There is a common thought from young people that it is ok too, “sow the wild oats while young.” While this sounds nice, we have found out that this can have serious consequences for your future, even if it is years later.
This summer we have seen some baseball players and many others get in trouble for saying something years in the past. In the case of Kavanaugh things that he did or did not do years back are having an effect now.
We think of building character for the future but it really needs to start now.
1 Corinthians 9:24 Don’t you know that the runners in a stadium all race, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way to win the prize. 25 Now everyone who competes exercises self-control in everything. They do it to receive a perishable crown, but we an imperishable crown. 26 So I do not run like one who runs aimlessly or box like one beating the air. 27 Instead, I discipline my body and bring it under strict control, so that after preaching to others, I myself will not be disqualified.
1 Peter 2:11 Dear friends, I urge you as strangers and exiles to abstain from sinful desires that wage war against the soul. 12 Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles, so that when they slander you as evildoers, they will observe your good works and will glorify God on the day he visits.
Live your life in a way that no one can lay an accusation on you that sticks. And that through seeing how you live your life will want to become a Christ follower themselves.
6. Always speak the truth – Be known as a truth speaker
Ephesians 4:15 But speaking the truth in love
As Christians, we are to follow Christ in speaking the truth. This takes hard work and consistency. As humans, we have a habit of always looking out for ourselves no matter what. This, unfortunately, means that when we are only looking for us, we sacrifice truth. Truth is what matters, even if telling the truth costs us. This is part of building character and integrity.
In the case of Kavanaugh, his ability to tell the truth (or not, depending on who you talk to) has affected the situation at hand.
I cannot overstate this enough – your character is tied to your ability to always tell the truth.
ALWAYS TELL THE TRUTH NO MATTER THE COST
If you are known to be a person who always tells the truth, at all cost, then people will always have trust in you that what you say is true.
7. Treat Others with respect
39 The second [Great Commandment] is like it: Love your neighbor as yourself.
3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility consider others as more important than yourselves. 4 Everyone should look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
It is clear that we are too treat others with respect and love. This means every single person that we come in contact with, even when the other person does not deserve it. We start by placing value on others. This value must be so high that it cannot be valued. When we approach others as valued people, then our attitudes and actions change.
In regards to the Kavanaugh situation, how he treated others throughout his life is now affecting how he is now being viewed.
As Christians, we are to live above reproach and this includes how we treat those around us and we come in contact with on a daily basis.
I leave you with this.
A good name is to be chosen over great wealth; favor is better than silver and gold.
A good name is tough to come by, takes years to build, but is more valuable than wealth. Do what’s right and stay above reproach. As you do so, God will continue to use you to reach more people with the Gospel.
What are some lessons that you are learning through this?