Twitter was awash Monday afternoon with comments from users eager to mock former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) following revelations that her estranged husband, Todd, had filed for divorce. After more than 30 years of marriage, their relationship has fallen apart.
The correct response is to mourn the tragic undoing of what was intended to last forever. The marriage bond is sacred — a covenantal decision made before God and meant to last until death — so its dissolution should evoke heartbreak, not hatred.
Unfortunately, for many, it prompted the latter rather than the former.
One user, Alex Cole, wrote in a new viral post: “Sarah Palin never hesitated telling others how they should live. Now look at her, can’t keep her own family together.”
He went on to call Palin and other Christians “hypocrites” for preaching family values but failing so often to live them out.
Cole is certainly right in his assessment that Palin is a hypocrite. He actually didn’t go far enough. Based on my understanding of Scripture, there’s not a human being on this earth who isn’t a hypocrite to one degree or another.
We don’t know every detail of the Palins’ situation. In fact, we know very little: the divorce filing uses initials — S.L.P. and T.M.P. — and was only linked to the couple after a reporter noticed the marriage date and the birth date of their 11-year-old son, Trig, over whom both parties are seeking joint custody.
According to the filing, Palin’s husband cited an “incompatibility of temperament” that has made it “impossible to live together” as his reason for separation.
We know nothing of the inner workings of the Palins’ relationship or if the former governor and 2008 vice presidential candidate was in favor of the divorce. Regardless of the answers to those questions, which are, frankly, none of our business, they wouldn’t invalidate the family values Palin has long espoused.
The left-leaning blog Raw Story mockingly suggested the Palins’ predicament calls into question the politician’s past claims about family values. The website referenced a quote from a devotional book by Palin: “Don’t listen to liberals when they mock ‘family values’ like they’re some relic of an ancient past. Rather, pass them on to your kids and watch what God does to change the world.”
Palin was likely referencing Proverbs 22:6, which states, “Direct your children onto the right path, and when they are older, they will not leave it.”
Even though the Palins are stumbling and their children haven’t always lived up to the standards the former candidate has embraced doesn’t make those principles any less true. The tragedy of this earth is its imperfection.
We strive for Christlikeness, but everyday fall desperately short of perfection. We aim to live up to God’s standards, and knowing we’ll fail to get there, the Lord provides a way out: Jesus, who closes the chasm between our failure and God’s infallibility.
Every human being is a hypocrite — it just comes with the territory. Thank God, though, our hypocrisy isn’t the end of the story.
The correct response to the Palins’ situation is to mourn and to pray, to learn and to extend grace. Because even though we know the truth, we mess up. It’s in moments like these we can rejoice in the “but God” passages of Scripture.
“But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners,” the apostle Paul wrote in Romans 5. “And since we have been made right in God’s sight by the blood of Christ, he will certainly save us from God’s condemnation.”