By now, most of you have heard the big news of the day here in Nashville. In case you’ve been under a rock (or say a mama of three or more kids – HOW DO Y’ALL DO IT?!), Mayor Megan Barry admitted to an extramarital affair of over two years with her chief security officer.
Because social media is wonderful but also terrible, right away people were gloating, even celebrating. (This leads me to say that I announced to my husband the other night I’m officially an Independent. GIVE ME NO ASSOCIATION WITH EITHER, PLEASE AND THANK YOU, but I digress).
But before you adjust the crown on your head as you enjoy a crumbling marriage, a few thoughts kept coming to my head as the “Breaking News” kept scrolling on the television:
1. It can happen to anyone. Anyone. Do you think, as she took her oath as mayor with her husband by her side, she planned to start an affair that same year? I don’t.
2. Protect your marriage. I’ve seen this rule ridiculed in the media, but Brett and I swear by it: We never go somewhere with a (non-related, duh) member of the opposite sex by ourselves. Not for lunch or even a quick cup of coffee (or Sprite). In a group setting with other people? Absolutely fine. But we don’t want to create a situation that 1. Creates suspicion- all it takes is one person seeing you at that table together, even completely innocent, for rumors to swirl and 2. Becomes too comfortable- All of the sudden, one lunch with a colleague or old friend becomes two, three, four, and so on. Don’t even create the temptation.
3. Pray for your spouse. He or she is not above temptation. Jesus Himself was tempted (Matthew 4:1-11). Pray for the protection of their heart and the strength of your marriage.
4. We need accountability. “Judge lest ye be judged” is thrown around all of the time, and it’s taken totally out of context. As believers, the Holy Spirit lives inside of us, the ultimate conscience-giver. So when we see other believers (and likewise, when others see us) straying, it is biblical to speak up. Tactfully, lovingly, privately, BUT LOUDLY. Surround yourself with like-minded followers of Christ who won’t be afraid to call you out on your junk. And be willing to take it.
5. Grace is free with a repentant heart. And it is offered to us all from God through His Son, Jesus. It doesn’t escape us from earthly consequences, and Mayor Barry will likely be facing a wide range of those. But our Redeemer doesn’t have a bias when it comes to who He forgives. He doesn’t see black or white skin, red or blue parties. He sees our hearts. It is ours if we own it, confess it, and ask for it. Praise God.
Mayor Barry, in your statement you said you knew God would forgive you, but the citizens of Nashville didn’t have to. But the body of Christ? We are compelled. It is, and should be, in our nature. While I am just a few miles away from officially being called a Nashvillian, this neighbor just over the county line forgives you.
Mayor Barry and I differ in a number of ways. I wouldn’t have voted for her before this, which would make it all the more easy to join the berating crowd. But may His church be louder in proclaiming, “Greater is the One living inside of me than he who is living in the world!”