After a one week respite in Mexico where I had a holiday from social media and political campaigns, I returned to find the local and national political scene heating up with debates and political rhetoric.
I was saddened to hear that as politicians are being questioned about their finances or background, a common response is, “It’s not illegal.”
In Sunday’s Tennessean (August 22, 2015) is an article on Tennessee Campaign Laws and Legislators buying Tennessee Titans and Memphis Grizzlies sports tickets. Although using campaign funds for “admission to a sporting event” is specifically prohibited, apparently there is a loophole: “..unless the event is an expense associated with a legitimate campaign or officeholder activity…including guests or constituents of the candidate or officeholder.” In the world of a politician, isn’t that almost everyone?
One of the lawmakers who purchased season tickets to both the Titans and Grizzlies with campaign funds responded to the paper’s inquiry, “It’s within the rules.”
Perhaps it is a “legal” use of campaign funds, but is that really what the donors had in mind? Tickets to sporting events, concerts and other forms of entertainment, as well as paying your children’s private non-profit school tuition under the guise of a “charitable donation” may be legal, but they don’t pass the “smell test” of a Christian.
It appears that as a society we have slipped back into our Old Testament ways of thinking that as long as we keep the “rules” and “law” we are okay in God’s eyes. But in Luke 11:42 we read: “Woe to you Pharisees, because you give God a tenth of your mint, rue and all other kinds of garden herbs, but you neglect justice and the love of God. You should have practiced the latter without leaving the former undone. “
As Christians we should have higher standards than just looking for the loopholes to make sure that we stay out of jail.
Other activities may not be illegal, but also don’t live up to God’s expectations. You won’t go to jail for having an affair, driving a few miles more than the posted speed limit, registering under an assumed name on FACEBOOK, successfully hiding assets in a divorce hearing or not paying back monies borrowed under a friendly loan. But is this the society we want to live in and have our children grow up in?
If the only yardstick that we use to measure our character is whether something is legal or not, we have come to worship the evil doers that Paul warned us about in Chapter 6 of his Letter to the Ephesians: “For our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.”
Are you abiding in the flesh and blood of Jesus, or is every behavior “okay” as long as it isn’t “illegal”?
Blessings, my friend,