The Illustrative Lesson of Pat Robertson

By now its common news, the statement, the denial, and the apology. For Christians, especially as we see the political activism heat up in the Christian community, Pat Robertson’s latest escapade is an important lesson.

Aside from the point that when ones reputation and prestige outweigh ones attentiveness to the Bible guidelines there is a severe imbalance of priorities, there is another dynamic that has taken place here. This is not an uncommon one, even though many of us don’t have it so publicly displayed…yet… What we have seen illustrated is the way cultivating ones anger and self importance carves out, internally, a place for us to move quite far from Christ. We do not even realize how far we have drifted, until the step over the line has been made. Then come the consequences and the exposure.

This is a lifestyle move, it is made of many missteps, and ignoring the need to align oneself carefully with the reflection of the Word of God, as in the book of James,

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was.

But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.

If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. “

It is important to keep a check on that buildup of self-importance, of allowing that rationalized anger to have its secret place in the heart. Sooner, rather than later, that secret place will out itself… and the shame will be apparent to all.

I can say this, I have been there. And it taught me a lesson, one that is being publicly illustrated in this news event.

The thing I will leave the reader with is this: the wrong way to address this sort of problem is to try to weasel out of it. It is not time to try to grab the vestiges of ones pride and cover with the short blanket ( or should I say fig leaves?) of excuses or lame explanations. It certainly does no good to give out lackluster half-hearted apologies. what is called for is real repentance, the soul-searching, confessing, and bitter tears type of repentance.

That will take us back to that humble walk with God that would keep us from falling on our faces and bringing cause for criticism to the Lord we say we serve.

And the danger in politics is that we can so easily fall into this fault. Our cause may seem so righteous, the need to act and speak so urgent, the delay of introspection and careful self-assessment so excusable. Pat Robertson is n’t the only one… and we aren’t so far away from committing the same mistakes, especially as the headlong sweep of political importunity takes us for a ride.

The Lesson:

  • Don’t seek to grab the day for God, let Him make the outline and the plan
  • Keep track of building resentments
  • Confess and forsake even the seemingly small infractions
  • Part with anger and pride of place, remember that it is God who brought to to your place of relevance and God who keeps you there
  • Walk carefully and keep a watch on your mode of expression
  • When found in a fault repent fully and completely- don’t trust half-measures

5 thoughts on “The Illustrative Lesson of Pat Robertson”

  1. Your observations are well-thought and appropriate. And I concur. My only issue in the Pat Roberston imbroglio is that the MSM pounced on the man and when was the last time the guns of unadulterated character assassination were drawn and aimed at liberals who had said something outlandish or reprehensible? Fairness illudes the left-wing press.

  2. That may be so, Bernard, but the MSM would have had nothing to shoot at if Robertson had kept his thoughts to himself. Christian Leaders need to be especially careful about their public statements for exactly this reason.

    I support much of what Robetson and his 700 Club do in the area of evangelism and social outreach, but his extreme hawkish views over the past few years have become increasingly troublesome to me.

  3. Well observed, Bernard. Although I think your point is well taken on the rabid response ( heh), is it any surprise, really? We could look at it from the practical view and the spiritual. In the spiritual we see that the Pharisees were always looking closely for something to pounce upon. Should we, as Christians, not be mindful of this? This is why I am short on sympathy in this matter. Practically speaking the more public your commentary, the more careful you should be to get it right, if that is your intent. ( We all know there are fools for publicity-but that isn’t the case here)

    Pat Robertson ( and he is not the only one or the worst) has had a habit of making sensational comments and then backtracking. Now he has caused larger problems on the international scene.

    I am tired of such men being promoted as representative of the Christian community. They are a part, no doubt, but not representative in this activity nor in the substance of what they are saying. If it is Robertson that is the one to make an example of, then so be it.
    But the example should be observed, don’t you think?

  4. Superbly well done, Ilona. Your points are precise and solidly founded in traditional Christian teaching and scripture.

    Bernard, my feelings are not assuaged by the undeniable reality that the MSM has pounced on this with glee. This is inevitable. Naturally Robertson has a civil right to speak his ideas. We also have a civil right to criticize them.

    The question regarding Robertson is what is his main purpose? If his purpose is to present a Christian point of view and commentary, he has abjectly failed. If his purpose is to be a political pundit, my personal opinion is that he is failing there as well.

    But as a Christian, does Robertson not have an obligation to attempt to embody the active teachings of Jesus as best he can? Granted, we will all fail – but surely the attempt is a religious duty that we can’t avoid. I can’t believe that this is the best Robertson can do, which would imply that Robertson sees some abstract disconnect between the mundane and the spiritual. But what we are told to do as Christians is follow behavioral precepts in the world. We need not seek victory here because we know we have already received it through Christ’s sacrifice.

    Is Robertson not, in effect, setting an example of a denial of Jesus’ teaching in practice after accepting his gift in word? Can this be anything other than a religious stumbling block for his viewers and for others who will believe that this is what Christianity is?

    Robertson’s original comments and his “clarification” both embody the idea that the US has some sort of a right to Venezuelan resources. This is not a Christian teaching.

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