In a column that Kathleen Parker of the Washington Post wrote regarding the scandals of Generals Petraeus and Allen entitled, “Real Generals of Kabul,” she stated the following: “This is good soap opera, but bad everything else – and so sad for our country. What is wrong with these men? I know, I know. It takes two to tango. But when you’re head of the Central Intelligence Agency – or lead Americans to war – your tango matters more than her tango.” (emphasis mine)
As Christians, our tango matters. When we live for temporal pleasures and do not subjugate ourselves to the discipline demanded for those professing Christ, we do great damage to the Kingdom of God. Our old natures have been “crucified with Christ.” (Galatians 2:20) We must allow Him to rule in our lives and we must become “less and less” as He becomes “greater and greater.” (John 3:30) That means that we may not “get” to watch the same TV shows as others, go to the same movies and concerts as others, read the same books and magazines, or have the same relationships. That means that we must never allow a friendship outside of our marriage to have any place other than friendship, and we need to be exceedingly cautious about that. We must guard our hearts and minds and eyes and ears.
I have read that Billy Graham would never ride alone on an elevator with a woman or have a meal alone with a woman other than his wife. Since I have never met Reverend Graham, I am unable to substantiate those statements. However, the purity required to carry out those ideas is still in need today. With the availability of online messaging and texting in our society, it is entirely possible to have a whole “secret” relationship that erodes the foundation of our marriages.
General Petraeus’s downfall did not come about in the bedroom; it happened much before that in the boardroom. It occurred when he entertained the notion that this intelligent, beautiful, much-younger woman just might possibly be interested in him. Unfortunately for him, he carried out actions following that notion. He was willing to sacrifice a 38-year marriage and a lifelong military career for that ego-stimulating relationship.
Because Petraeus’s tango needed to matter and because ours MUST matter, we ought to do as Billy Graham and not give our enemy any ground. As Christians and as leaders, we have enemies who want to destroy us. They do not go straight for the jugular; downfalls begin much more subtly. The desolation left behind is complete.
General Petraeus is not the first man or woman in power to exercise such poor judgment, nor will he be the last. However, I choose this day that my tango will count for something and that I will not sign the general’s dance card. What about you?
Next post – some more thoughts on leadership