Today I read another article and watched a video clip, What Was He Thinking?, about the sad, destructive, bewildering behavior of Representative Anthony Weiner. After days of denial he is finally taking responsibility for deliberately texting lewd photos of himself to young women he’s never met. You’ve most likely seen them. No need to describe them.
The article, from USA Today,Narcissism, risk-taking tend to drive sex scandals, begins with a litany of names of recent, powerful politicians who have betrayed their wives, the public trust, the trust of friends and perhaps even their own morals, to pursue sexual thrills: John Edwards, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Mark Sanford, Eliot Spitzer, Larry Craig, Kwame Kilpatrick, Bill Clinton, to name just a few.
They come from any part of the political spectrum, but they are unanimously male, and almost all white. It’s no wonder that media of all types, and of all persuasions, are asking the question, “What are these guys thinking?!”
Reading the article reveals the opinion that they are narcissistic (overwhelmingly consumed with self-interest), risk-taking, and attention-seeking powerful men. They have also convinced themselves they are above the rules that apply to everyone else.
On the one hand, we guys who observe these soap operas can join in the chorus and marvel, “Can you believe these guys? How can they risk everything for this?!” On the other, when we honestly remind ourselves of the self-centered, relationship-harming, reputation-risking behavior we are also capable of pursuing, we need to fall on our knees and weep. “Different issue, lower degree of publicity, less outrage…that could be me.”
Men, when we are tempted to pursue stuff we know is ultimately self-centered and hurtful to others, let’s apply a few lessons we can learn from Congressman Weiner’s horrible fall:
- I, too, am fallen
- I, too, have a capacity for self-centeredness
- I, too, can rely on the assumption that I can get away with it
- I, too, can believe I deserve it
- I, too, may be deluded into thinking it has no consequences
- I, too, can foolishly entertain the lie, What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.
Then, let’s pause, and ask ourselves, “What in the world am I thinking?! What do I really believe? What kind of man am I really?” May we then make choices that focus on the needs of others, that honor trust, that discipline self, that deepen relationship and that build character.
What would you add to this conversation?
My greatest joy in life is my family. I know, that sounds like the comment you’re supposed to make as a man and father. All I can say is I literally shake my head in wonder at the family I have: my wife Beryl; my daughter Barclay and son-in-law Vince, their four daughters, Bella, Brynn, Brooke and Blake; my son Alec, my son Conor and daughter-in-law Bonnie, their daughter Gemma and son Calvin. Every one of them is a genuine gift. Beyond that, I have a calling that I live out through Peregrine Ministries. It is to help men: Understand their identity in Christ, Embrace their role as men, and Live out their God-given calling in life. Bottom line is I’m convinced men matter and I want to help them live life on purpose.