Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh, has been accused of assaulting a high school student thirty years ago, when both were in high school. The question today is: does that act, if it is proved true, disqualify
him from becoming a Supreme Court Justice?
This is a big deal on more than one front. One really big deal is whether or not the truth is being told. If this allegation is true, Mr Kavanaugh should own it and admit that he was an immature teenager who acted foolishly, and committed a sin. He should apologize and beg forgiveness.
If this is a mean-spirited attempt to slander a man for political reasons, then the accuser should own her sin as well, apologize, and beg forgiveness.
Another issue here is: does our past disqualify us from our future? If Judge Kavanaugh is disqualified to become a Supreme Court Judge because of this one action as a teenager, then should it not also disqualify him from being a judge, period. And shouldn’t it also disqualify him from teaching law. Should it disqualify him from making judicious decisions as a parent? A husband? Where do we draw the line? Who draws it?
Using this criteria — one sin and you’re barred from moving ahead — then we are all disqualified from life.
In all seriousness, I was not always the best sister to either of my younger sisters. As a teenager, I said and did things that were hurtful. After I grew up, got married, and desired to have children, if either of my sisters had gone to social services and told them how awful a person I was back then, should I have been disqualified from being a parent?
Maybe that’s being a bit dramatic, but is it different?
I will confess to one time when I was in high school, I mocked religion. Does that disqualify me from teaching the Bible? From writing this blog? From going to church? From being a Christian who now loves the Lord?
We are all guilty of at least one really stupid, foolish, sinful thing. The Bible tells us that we are: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Does that mean that we are all ineligible for better things. Are we all banned from advancing beyond our teenage immaturity? Are we all condemned to remain who we were? Are we sentenced to live in the punishment of the wrong choices we made when we were “who we were”?
I am not saying that it simply doesn’t matter what we do as teenagers (actually, how far do we go back?), and I’m surely not excusing sexual sin. As most of you know, I have experienced that atrocity, and I believe it is a grievous and inexcusable sin. So, no, I am not suggestion we overlook sexual assault or dismiss it as kids being kids.
Nevertheless, at what point do we decide that life’s learning experiences should be held against one another and used as justification to disqualify anyone from moving forward? When do we decide to let the past stay in the past? Where, and when does forgiveness enter in? Where, and when does grace appear?
As I said before, if a sin has been committed, it must be owned, confessed, repented of, and forgiveness sought. As Christians, that is our duty. We must seek forgiveness from those we’ve offended, and we must extend it when it is sought from us. We commit to that every time we say the Lord’s Prayer.
Forgiving confessed sin is not an option for Christians. God has declared it is not an option for him either. God has promised us that when we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).
For those who might want to judge the discretions — sins — of the past without forgiveness, without grace, I would share Matthew’s word of warning: in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you (Matthew 7:2). If we are going to condemn people today for actions in the past, we must also condemn ourselves. If that is the case, then we are all disqualified.
If this is the criteria, then the ultimate question becomes: can any of us break away from our past? As the Apostle Paul cried out, “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me?” (Romans 7:24).
Our only hope for escaping the condemnation of our past, (not to mention the sins we’ve yet to commit) is by placing our faith in the finished work of the lord Jesus Christ, our substitute. Jesus bore the penalty for our sins. He was punished on our behalf. He freed us from sin’s bondage and power. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).
Though we are not condemned by our forgiven sin, there may be consequences, and the consequences may include disqualification from a specific job, role, or service. However, before we pass judgment on anyone, we must first be sure we have removed the plank from out of our own eye, so that we can see clearly to remove the speck from another’s (Matthew 7:5).
From what past sin do you need to seek forgiveness? To whom should you extend forgiveness? With what criteria are you judging another? Are you prepared to submit to the same criteria?