Politicians in Australia this week have shown again that they are a sorry lot. From their own accusatory lips we have learnt again that politicians are vain, driven by a desire for power and status, disloyal, narcissistic, obsessed by their own egos, insecure, faction driven, tribal, self seeking, two faced, scheming, pragmatic, selfish, sexist and, at times, just not terribly nice people. It’s enough to make a grown man cry and one called Anthony actually did. The Australian Labor Party has torn itself to shreds this week, all in an attempt to convince us that they are worthy of our vote at the next federal election.
But those words don’t only apply to the ALP. Not that long ago the Liberal and National parties of Australia were tearing themselves apart, using some equally vindictive language over whether or not they believed in climate change and who was the best person to lead their party. The decisive vote that supposedly solved all their internal disunity and disquiet was by a majority of only one. The loser of that vote said he would leave politics, but later changed his mind and maybe still waits for his day of unlikely resurrection.
Of course the journalists who tell us all about these terrible politicians are actually not so wonderful themselves. They regularly drink too much and make fools of themselves at award ceremonies. Just occasionally they look a little vain, self seeking, arrogant and bloody minded. Journalistic ethics sounds so impressive but are often compromised by phone taps, false reports, vilification and a lust to be able to report the fight. At times the media looks a lot like the crowd at a schoolyard, cheering on the punch up behind the science block. Sometimes similar power struggles occur in academia, on building sites, at hospitals, amongst teachers at schools, and in those proverbial dispute centres we call families.
And please don’t think that I am now going to say that nice people who go to church are so much better. In fact vanity, narcissism, egotism and selfishness are all pretty commonplace in most church communities. It may even be a reasonable description of a lot of ministers and pastors I know. More to the point, I can’t even be sure it’s not something my critics might justifiably and regularly say about me!
You see our politicians’ greatest weakness is that they are just like us. Sin is not the preserve of the powerful – they just have a little more freedom of expression and considerably greater scrutiny. We need much more than a self improvement program and we need something greater than a politician with a messiah complex.
We actually need a Messiah. One who is without sin. One who can save us from our sins.
“What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God — through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Romans 7: 24-25