Australian Commentary (58)

Transgression speaks to the ungodly within his heart; there is no fear of God before his eyes… the words of his mouth are wickedness and deceit; he has ceased to be wise and to do good….let not the foot of pride come upon me, and let not the hand of the wicked drive me away. There the doers of iniquity have fallen; they have been thrust down and cannot rise (Ps.36:1, 3, 11-12).

It’s astonishing how sin can blind people to the enormity of their choices, so they cannot perceive themselves and their actions, in any kind of dispassionate way. Barnaby Joyce, Deputy Prime Minister, Leader of the National Party, Federal Cabinet Member and Member for the seat of New England, is married with four children, and earning hundreds of thousands annually, at taxpayer’s expense.

For about a year, he’s engaged in an improper, adulterous and now public relationship with a female staff member who is now pregnant to him, and he gives every impression that he’s hardening his heart, digging in, and won’t forsake the relationship for the sake of his political career, which is clearly now on the line, let alone his wife and children.

I guess he thinks that “this is a private matter.” But in his position, much of his life cannot be private.

Why?

Because the electorate and the nation want to know something of their representatives who are supposed to be leading them, who are public examples, making decisions in relation to billions of dollars of tax-payer funds.

He thinks his private life is of no account to people? Oh really? Try telling that to the people of Tamworth and Armidale that voted for you in November, but knew nothing of this affair. Thousands of them would be disgusted with your behaviour, and vote differently.

You have treated them with contempt, as if they are no account people to be laughed at behind their backs, as though a man discarding his vows with his wife, is irrelevant.

If a man cannot keep his vows to his wife, why should we expect him to keep any commitments he makes to his nation? When people are privately deceptive and immoral, it inevitably bursts out and becomes a dominant characteristic in their life. A private liar soon thinks of the public, “What do they know? I’ll keep this from them.” What’s in a man’s private life, inevitably translates to his public life, too.

The Psalmist speaks of this. He says,

A perverse heart shall depart from me; I will know no evil… My eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they may dwell with me. He who walks in a blameless way is the one who will minister to me. He who practices deceit will not dwell within my house; he who speaks falsehood shall not maintain his position before me (Ps.101:4, 6, 7).

There is no way that what Barnaby has done will be excused and accepted. Even if the PM and the National Party accepted it (and it appears they won’t), the electorate will be counting down the days to the next election, with a view to getting rid of him.

Sympathy?

I have no sympathy for him, because he’s deliberately committed what the Ten Commandments forbid, and he’s now fighting for the right to do so. But when people get to this level of responsibility, they have to accept there is greater accountability for their actions, as an elected representative of the nation. He’s asking for a world of pain (if he’s not there now), and he’ll most certainly get it. And the Bible’s warning is clear: “Let him who thinks he stands take heed that he does not fall” (I Cor.10:12).

Conclusion:

The Bible teaches and warns us, that “…we will all stand before the judgement seat of God” (Ro.14:10). That is never a light matter for every person to consider, whatever our position in life. Positions of leadership, whether they be in the church or other places, are places of both responsibility and accountability in all manner of moral issues, beginning at home.

Those like Barnaby Joyce who seem determined to ignore these facts are doomed to be condemned by them.

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