[notice]Port Elizabeth Pastor, Afrika Mhlophe, takes a tough stance on the personal choices of public officials and the difference between Godly sorrow and worldly sorrow. [/notice]
I am sitting on a flight en route from Paris to Stockholm and I am doing my best to try and finish reading a SA Sunday newspaper I bought at OR Tambo airport on my out of SA.
There are very few things to do when flying to far away destinations and waiting at airports for connecting flights. I find the process of going through international airports tedious and invasive. Watching fellow passengers try and finish copiuos amounts of beverages at security checkpoints and others holding their pants from falling off because we are forced to take off even our belts, among many other things, is not fun. Oh the perils of traveling!
Anyway on this particular Sunday read there is a lot being said about the sex scandal that has engulfed our Minister of sports, Fikile Mbalula. Just in case you don’t follow these things, our minister has been exposed as having impregnated a 27 year old lady. This lady is apparently a model and I assume this made it difficult for the minister to resist her.
There is an interesting quote by Irish playwright George Bernard Shaw that appeared in this same weekend newspaper. It said, “The nation’s morals are like its teeth, the more decayed they are the more it hurts to touch them.“ Ouch, it is time to clean those teeth! If we don’t we will end up becoming like Italy. Their Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi has been hounded by one sex scandal after another including being accused of having sex with under-age girls. Now this man is 75 years old and the Italians seemed to finally be loing their tolerance for his antics.
Our honourable minister, who last week celebrated his 40th birthday, claims that consexual sex with the model took place while he and his wife were separated. He disputes the claim that he did not use protection and instead claims that his condom burst during the deed. There are some who have come to his defence and argue that what the minister, and the likes of him, do in private is none of our business. I dispute this assertion for many reasons and not the least of them being that public officials should live an examplenary life. Our country is burdened with HIV and close to 6 million of our compatriots are living with this virus.
If we don’t change our sexual behaviour we will not win the war against HIV and AIDS. Our public representatives should therefore practice what they preach. They should not tell us to live healthy lives while they continue to make poor lifestyle choices.
For instance here in Europe it is not unusual to see ministers and public officials cycling or using public transport. People do not only hear them espousing the virtues of the public transport system they have created but see them using it. Our own officials in SA shun the use of public facilities they are responsible for. Yet they opt for private facilities they often lambast as being elitist and inaccessible to people they like to refer to as “our people“. Hypocrisy reaches a new level with politicians. For instance, take the case of the youth leader who led a march against unemployment and poverty and then flew first class to some exotic location to attend a party that was the height of opulence and crass materialism.
Our sports minister has subsequently apologised but what does this mean? Is he apologising for what he has done or because he has been found out? In recent years our own State President has apologized twice for sexual misdemeanors. The bible talks about godly and worldly sorrow. Godly sorrow is to be remorseful over your selfish and sinful actions and how those actions have offended a righteous God, while worldLY sorrow is to regret the consequences of those actions. With godly sorrow you are sorry for hurting God but with worldly sorrow you are sorry for hurting yourself or sorry for the inconvenience you have suffered because of your foolish actions.
As Christians we are duty bound to forgive people but their apologies should also be sincere. Now are these politicians who are caught driving under the influence of alcohol, censored for hurtful remarks, or criticised for their sexual escapades, etc. indeed sorry for their actions and the damage they caused to the wider society, or are they sorry that their actions are put to the glare of the media? You decide.