Liar, Liar Pants on Fire!
While no one knows exactly where this phrase — always popular with the school-aged children (or those who act like school-aged children) — originated, if there ever was a poster-boy for the truth that this phrase expounds, it’s none other than New York Congressman Anthony Weiner. And, even though Mr. Weiner thinks that his Monday press conference extinguished the flames, it is becoming more apparent that the lies, half-truths, and equivocations are still coming.
For purposes of full disclosure, I must say that I have always thought that Rep. Weiner was one of the most irritatingly obnoxious people to ever serve in the halls of Congress. Never one to shy away from the camera, we now know that his affection for being in pictures has multiple meanings. To say that Anthony Weiner represented all that I think is wrong with the Washington establishment (including both Democrats and Republicans) is an understatement.
Did I believe that Congressman Weiner was lying from the moment that he tried to spin a ridiculous story about his Twitter account being hacked? Yes. The more he talked, the bigger hole he kept digging for himself. That no prominent Republicans initially commented on the scandal proves the old adage, “give a man enough rope, and he will hang himself.”
With yesterday’s bizarrely mesmerizing press conference (I couldn’t stop watching), one of the most powerful men in Congress was forced to admit that he had been lying all along about the Twit Pic that started this whole sordid affair. As I watched a man, clearly on the defensive, try to answer questions about his online activities with at least six women, it became apparent that Congressman Weiner was uncomfortable with the grilling that he was undergoing. But, one must remember that this grilling by the press, many of whom Weiner had looked in the eye and lied to for a week, is of his own making. If he did not say one truthful thing on Monday, Rep. Weiner at least did not lie when he said that he alone was responsible for his actions.
As I watched the press conference, I wanted to be angry at Rep. Weiner, but I found myself strangely sad. There are no excuses for what he did, but Congressman Weiner came across as a truly pathetic individual. With someone who had so much, he chose to throw it all away. He may not have resigned his office, but I do not believe that Rep. Weiner will be able to withstand the increasing calls for him to step down, particularly if it is proven that he used any resources of his Congressional office after he said that he had not (technically, he said he did not believe he had).
It would be easy to ridicule Anthony Weiner for his stupid mistakes and lapses in judgment. Some people would become über righteous and rail against Weiner for his sinful actions. If I were still in law, I would be right there with them. And, even though I am in grace, I find myself often tempted — depending on who is on the receiving end — to be more about law than grace. Of course, we should not sin so that grace may abound nor should we try to excuse such obvious sin as Weiner has admitted, but when we do sin, we have grace — God’s unmerited favor — that is greater than all our sins.
With the publicly spectacular fall of Anthony Weiner, we may become tempted to highlight Congressman Weiner’s sins while diminishing our own. We may even be tempted to think that someone like Anthony Weiner does not deserve God’s grace. But, the Weiner scandal can remind us that we are all sinners and that none of us deserve God’s grace. The Apostle Paul thought that he was the chief of sinners. It would do us all well to remember that each of us should consider ourselves the chief sinner. That doesn’t sound like good news. If that was the end of the story, it would not be.
But, the Good News is that sinners like me and you and Anthony Weiner have a gracious and loving God who was willing to send His one and only Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross for sinners. He took our place, for our sins. On the glorious cross, our sins — past, present, and future — were washed away. Through faith in Jesus Christ and Christ alone, anyone can have their sins forgiven. That’s why God’s grace is so amazing! If God’s grace can save an undeserving wretch like me, it can save an un-deserving wretch like Anthony Weiner. Don’t forget, it can save an un-deserving wretch like you! And, if you think that you deserve God’s grace and the Anthony Weiners of the world do not, then you really don’t understand what grace is all about in the first place.