How Not to Repent of a Lie: by President Obama

“If you like your health plan, you can keep you health plan. Period.”

It was a lie and was told 29 times with minor modifications.

“But all politicians lie!” say the defenders and spinners.

The President? 29 times? To the whole nation? About his signature policy achievement? Impacting the health of millions?

This was a whopper by any standards. However, when found out, it was also a huge opportunity to demonstrate how to say sorry, how to tell the truth, and how to put right what was wrong.

But, if the President’s lie was bad, his response to being found out was even worse – a perfect model of how not to repent of sin. Here are a few of the excuses we’ve heard from the President and his spokesperson over the past few weeks (I’m paraphrasing them).

1. “But I didn’t think it was a lie at the time.” Reports now indicate that President Obama and his inner circle knew it was untrue and debated whether to include the line in his speeches.

2. “But how was I to know that this would happen.” Obamacare documents reveal that the government not only expected this, but that they expected cancellations to run into the tens of millions. And why wait for 2-3 years to admit it? Why only admit it when forced to?

3. “But it only affects a small minority of Americans.” So when does a lie become a lie? When it affects 10% of the population? 20%? 50%?

4. “But the vast majority will be unaffected.” Oh, so you think that I think that if I’m alright that I don’t care about the impact of this on other families. And you also think that I am unaffected and untroubled by my President lying to millions of Americans?

5. “But what I meant was that you can keep your plan if it meets my standards.” If there’s one thing worse than lying, it’s lying about your lie.

6. “But these people will end up with better plans at better premiums.” Well that’s a relief. Because it’s not a lie if it results in benefits for those lied to, does it? The end always justifies the means, doesn’t it?

7. “It was too complicated to explain all the intricacies of the legislation.” I’d rather complicated truth than simple lies, please.

8. “It’s the insurance companies’ fault.” Oh, yes, the oldest trick in the book: ”The woman whom you gave to me…”

9. “Of course I’m sorry that people find themselves in this situation.” Not sorry for the lie itself? Only sorry for the consequences? If people had not been badly affected, would it not have been a lie then?

10. “The Republicans are simply trying to take advantage of this.” A lie is a lie, no matter how many try to politicize it.

It’s really a classic demonstration of how the human heart responds to sin: more lies, minimizing, rationalizing, blame-shifting, politicization, pragmatism, diversion, etc.

Let’s for a moment try to imagine what the President should have said.

“My fellow Americans, I lied to you. I promised that if you liked your health plan you could keep it. I repeated that lie almost 30 times in multiple venues. At the time I justified it to myself and to my advisers by saying that it was for the greater good, that it was vital in order to get Obamacare passed. I should not have done that. I was wrong and I am deeply sorry. I betrayed your trust in me.

I’ve known about this for a while, and I should have come cleaner sooner. For that too, I am sorry.

As it is only right that I try to make amends so that no one, and I repeat no one, suffers as a result of my lie, I have invited Congress to work with me to re-write the law so that all those I made that promise to, can keep their health plan. If that is not possible, then I am willing to let Obamacare fall rather than see one American suffer as a result of my lie.

I have also offered my resignation to the Secretary of State, but I know Americans are a forgiving people, and I hope you will give me opportunity to serve you further, beginning with me putting right my wrong.”

Reason says, “Madness! They’ll crucify him”

Faith says, “It’s the biblical way and God will bless it.”


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Walking with God in Everyday Life

The Bible says that “the Lord was with” Abraham, Joseph, David, and Hezekiah. We’re also told that Enoch and Noah “walked with God.” These are two sides of the one coin, two perspectives on the same experience of God’s special presence with His people.

This was a gracious experience. Humanity had severed itself from God by sin, but God in mercy came down to humanity again to reconcile, to re-establish, to re-connect, and to re-commune. These were all sinners separated from God by sin, and distant from God by nature. Yet God drew near to them, drew them to Himself, and filled them with His own presence. By God’s gift of faith in the coming Messiah, these Old Testament believers experienced forgiveness of their sin and God’s love shed abroad in their hearts by the Holy Spirit given to them. The Lord who had been against them was now with them.

This was a spiritual experience. If you looked at Enoch or David you would not have seen another physical figure with them. God was not with them physically. He was with them spiritually. By His indwelling Holy Spirit, God connected and communed with these men. The “withness” was a spiritual “withness.”

This was a personal experience. It wasn’t “the force” that was with them, but a person. It was not some impersonal power but someone with a character, a personality, a will, an ability to communicate, etc. As such, there was a sharing of personal thoughts, feelings, plans, hopes, etc. There was conversation between the Lord and those He was with. We don’t know how much the Old Testament believers understood of God being three persons, but they certainly knew a personal God.

This was a transforming experience. God cannot be with someone without it making a difference in their lives. Enoch and Noah stood out from everyone else in their generation. Heathen kings and officials, like Abimelech and Potiphar, noticed a difference in those that God was with (Gen. 21:22; 26:28; 39:3). God’s presence produced inner qualities of holiness, peace, contentment, and courage. In the Old Testament it was also associated with outward prosperity and success (e.g. Gen. 39:2-3; 1 Sam. 18:14; 2 Kings 18:7).

This was an enjoyable experience. This was not some unwanted and terrifying invasion of these men’s lives. No, this was the God who was their best friend, coming to walk with them through life’s journey. What a wonderful experience, especially when these men were often so otherwise alone in their spiritual pilgrimage!

This was a varied experience. Though God never leaves any believer in whom he has come to live, there are times when he withdraws the sense of His presence, the feeling of his nearness. For example, we’re told that God left Hezekiah to test him (2 Chron. 32:21). That cannot mean  God was with him one day and gone the next. Rather, it means that at this time Hezekiah did not have the conscious sense of God’s presence. God was there, but he was silent and still. Yes, the Spirit could be grieved in the Old Testament too, and such painful times taught these men how much they needed God’s active presence in their lives.

It was an everywhere experience. It was not confined to the Temple or Tabernacle, but God was with His people in building projects, in prison, on the throne, and on the farm. Wherever they went, whatever time of the day, they could enjoy God’s companionship. They could talk to Him, sing to Him, worship Him, enjoy Him wherever, whenever, whatever.

If Old Testament believers experienced this divine “withness,” this divine presence, how much more should we New Testament believers, who see Christ more clearly, who have the fullness of the Spirit’s indwelling, and who have so many other helps in our lives, families, and churches?

This article first appeared in Tabletalk. Sign up for three free months of the premier Reformed periodical. 


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The Gospel for Obamacare’s Victims

One of the culture shocks I experienced when I came to America from the UK six or so years ago was having to fork out for health insurance every month. Of course, in the UK health care is “free.” (Which means you pay twice as much for half the service, but you don’t notice it because it’s deducted via general taxation.)

In fact, not only did I have to fork out a monthly premium, but the insurance didn’t even kick in until I had paid $5000 in medical bills! However, I now realize that I got off pretty lightly then as my monthly premium was only $280 per month for a family of six.

Over the last two years, my premium has risen rapidly up to $800 per month a year ago, and now close to $1000 per month, the last two hikes due largely to Obamacare requirements. And I still have to pay the first few thousands of any bills!

Priceless Healthcare
I have to say though, that the healthcare we’ve received here has been of an incredibly high standard. While I’m so thankful for the amazing work medical professionals do in the UK, they just don’t have the time or the resources to offer the kind of care we get here. Grand Rapids hospitals are space age, the technology is at the cutting edge, the waiting times are virtually nil, and the staff have the time to care, which is absolutely priceless.

Expensive Healthcare
But, if the disastrous first month of Obamacare is anything to go by, it looks like American health care is going to end up costing a lot more, while the availability and quality of care is going to be significantly reduced.

A small minority will benefit, including the very poor and those with pre-existing conditions. However, as usual, the majority of the hardworking middle classes are going to take a huge financial hit, with premiums and deductibles rising on average 25%, and in some cases doubling, as millions are being forced into government plans despite the President’s oft-repeated promise that would not happen.

And most families just don’t have the money.

Rejected Healthcare
Americans are relatively well-paid, but as is the case everywhere, most families live to the very edge of their income and only have a couple of hundred dollars free every month to save up for special treats, car repairs, vacations, family trips, birthdays, college fees, etc. Obamacare’s premiums and deductibles are going to swallow up that small cushion, month after month after month.

Many can’t do it. Many won’t do it. They’ll simply refuse to pay the premiums and take the risk. Others will go into debt trying to maintain their previous lifestyle and pay the premiums. The remainder will pay the premiums but have nothing left over for life’s little luxuries. They all end up in the same place, increased costs and reduced health – both physically and psychologically.

Gospel Healthcare
What can Christians and the church do in this situation? First, confess our sin of omission. It’s tragic that Christian conservatives have not led the way in proposing legislation or designing healthcare programs that demonstrated practical love to the weakest in our society. We’re good at protesting against the evils of abortion and gay marriage; we’re not so good at providing for those who are impoverished by sickness and disease. The result? Under the guise of caring for the poor, the behemoth of Obamacare is changing the very nature of the relationship between the American people and their government, and also using the opportunity to impose social change and immoral values on individuals, families, and businesses.

Second, let’s be careful that when we oppose Obamacare, we don’t sound as if we could hardly care less about those who are sick, poor, and unable to afford or access health care. Although we must respect those whom God has set in authority over us and the laws they enact, that does not mean we should not argue against injustice and immorality in these laws. We are right to resist a bullying government’s intrusion into the most intimate parts of our lives. But when we do so, let’s sound a bit less selfish and a bit more loving towards those who desperately do need a safety net.

Third, teach financial stewardship to Christians. As premiums and deductibles rise higher and budgets tighten further, Christians are going to need regular and systematic biblical teaching on budgeting, planning, cutting expenses, etc. Future generations will need to learn much greater financial discipline than their parents. Dave Ramsey should do well out of Obamacare!

Fourth, pray for contentment. Yes, most of us will have much less money in our pockets. We’ll have to cut out some sports, some fishing, some clubs, some technology, some vacations, some clothes, etc. But we’re not exactly going to be living in slums. This is an opportunity to display God-centered satisfaction with our lot in life and demonstrate to others how we have learned to be content whatever our financial state.

Fifth, preach the Gospel. Obamacare’s costs will end the American dream for many people. Others are never going to get a chance at it. That’s really sad; yet it’s also an opportunity. In the midst of the evaporating mirage of prosperity we have the water of life to offer thirsty and disillusioned people. We have the Great Doctor who came to heal the sick of their deepest disease and who offers His services for free (Luke 5:31-32).


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