Pence displays wisdom and humility

Published 10:24 pm Friday, April 7, 2017

By Dr. Thurman R. Hayes Jr.

Recently I read an excellent article in the Washington Post about Vice-President Pence and his wife, Karen. The writer of this piece, Ashley Parker, mentioned almost in passing that the vice president has a personal rule to not dine alone with any woman except his wife.

When I read that, I immediately thought of Billy Graham.

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Many years ago, when Graham and his team were young evangelists, they asked themselves the question, “What has derailed many ministers?” One thing was obviously sexual immorality.

Therefore, they made a pact among themselves that they would avoid situations that placed them alone with a woman other than their spouse. After all, it’s pretty hard to commit adultery if you practice such a rule. It also helps to prevent false accusations.

Billy Graham and his team held to this rule, and they were never tarnished by sexual scandal.

But to political opponents of the vice president, this very positive article was red meat — and out came the knives. They used it to portray Pence as a total weirdo, a throwback to puritanical times. They even accused him of being sexist. (This, despite the fact that when he was governor of Indiana he chose a woman to be his lieutenant governor.)

I rather suspect that if they had agreed with the vice president politically, they would have praised him for his commitment to his wife. I suspect they would have said, “How sweet!” and “What a great husband!” Instead, they tried to tar him as dark and strange.

But, in reality, the vice president practices something that demonstrates wisdom and humility. It is wise, because it does prevent rumors. It is humble, because it recognizes our own frailty.

As a pastor, I have seen the human wreckage that is left by adultery. Unfaithfulness in marriage is devastating to the marriage, and to many more people who are impacted by it, like children.

But here’s the thing: No one wakes up in the morning and says, “I think it’s time to have an affair.” No, it happens because people put themselves in situations where intimacy develops.

Usually it is not even physical intimacy at first. It is two people allowing themselves to develop an emotional closeness and intimacy that should be reserved for their spouses alone.

To avoid putting yourself in the type of position for such intimacy to develop is not weird or strange. It shows commitment to your spouse, wisdom and humility.

Why humility? Because it recognizes that none of us are above sinning. Billy Graham and his team recognized that they were human beings who are prone to fail, as we all are.

So why put yourself in a position that makes it more likely that you will stumble? Why take that chance? Why not create the type of margin that makes it far more difficult to fail?

Apparently that is Pence’s thinking, and no matter where we are politically, we should be very grateful to have a man with such integrity as our vice president.

I personally disagreed with President Obama on many political issues, but I am very grateful for the commitment he displayed to his wife. Hopefully those who don’t agree with the vice president on politics will extend to him the same courtesy.

Dr. Thurman R. Hayes is senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Suffolk. Follow him on Twitter at @ThurmanHayesJr.