We live in a time when we all indulge, generally to excess. Post Christmas we all feel a bit overweight because we ate way too much. Our nation suffers an obesity epidemic. We “binge watch” TV shows now, not satisfied with a single episode. We are in the midst of multitudinous and varietal scandals about very public people indulging themselves sexually. It is an indulgent time.
It is hard to know when it started. Jim Geraghty thinks Bill Clinton’s sexual indulgences have a lot to do with it:
Yes, we’re all flawed human beings, all capable of succumbing to sexual temptation, and the allure of sexual desire tends to short-circuit our good judgment. It’s because this is such an easy temptation that we have to be particularly careful, and fear of a negative consequence helps to reinforce codes of conduct. Yes, a consensual affair with in an intern is different from Harvey Weinstein’s serial sexual predation, but in both cases, both men knew they could indulge their impulses to the fullest, in part because the men around them would not confront them or stop them.
But I think it is simply within our flawed nature. True, we are not all as sexually out-of-bounds as the people Geraghty cites, but we all have our issues. Mine is food, as I have shared in this space in the past. But I do think Geraghty is on to something when he talks about indulging the indulgers. We live in a society largely absent accountability making over indulgence that much easier.
But in the end it comes down to self-control. Lord knows we need more of it.
I got word last night that I had lost a friend to alcohol. Not the first time that’s happened in my life. This time it was a long-time acquaintance who I had become reacquainted with only in the last few years. Though separated by great distance, I was doing what I could to help him deal with his gross over indulgences, but alas. But the previous time I lost someone, some dozen years ago, was life changing – my best friend since jr. hi. had too much one night and drove into a light pole, end of story.
I am truly tired of indulgence taking the life of people I care about. That’s the thing really, our indulgences generally rob those that love us of something. I watched my wife struggle to cope with the limitations on my life my excessive weight created and that is what motivated me to get after it.
The Bible is full of discussion of self-control. It tells us such is a mark of being Christ-like. It tells us self-control is necessary for excellence. The Bible tells us that self-control is one of the steps to love. And that is the point I am really trying to make.
We seem to think that indulging the indulgers is how we love them, but it’s not. We tend to think that when we are allowed to indulge people care, but it is the exact opposite.
I think all the public accountability we are seeing regarding sexual behavior is a sign that the nation is regaining its senses, at least to some extent, about indulgence and accountability. I certainly hope so – I am achingly tired of losing friends to indulgence.