I was watching the vice-presidential debate, not to help me decide who I was going to vote for (I figured that out long ago), but mostly to see if anything “newsy” might happen. If there was a bombshell that everyone was going to be talking about the next morning, I didn’t want to miss it.
Honestly, near the end I was about to slip into a coma. Other than the vice-president’s strange demeanor, I saw and heard nothing that surprised me.
And then it happened.
The moderator asked a faith-related question. Basically, it was a request for the candidates to speak of their faith and how it guides their view of abortion. I sat up a little straighter and leaned forward. This, I had to hear.
Joe Biden’s answer was exactly what I knew it would be, but hearing him articulate it was jolting, like a slap or a bucket of cold water in the face. In essence, he said that he was personally opposed to abortion, but refused to impose that belief on others.
He has no problem imposing his belief about taxes on others. He has no problem imposing his belief about healthcare on others. He has no problem imposing his belief about Social Security on others. But abortion is somehow different. He says his conviction is strong, but he won’t promote it or defend it.
Is it just me, or is something wrong here?
Is a conviction really a conviction if it never finds expression in your everyday life?
This is like keeping a person locked in your basement. You never let him out. You never talk about him. You never let him share in anything you do. But then, when asked about him in front of a television audience, you tell everyone how much you love him.
But I didn’t write this post to beat up on Joe Biden. I wrote it to beat up on myself. Yes, I, too, have been guilty of the same thing. There have been times when my own self-proclaimed convictions stood in conflict with my everyday behavior.
Take gossip, for example. I’ve preached sermons against it…and then turned around and done it. Someone listening to my sermon and then hearing me gossip would be just as confused as I was last night listening to the pro-choice Joe Biden talk about how opposed he is to abortion.
Republican or Democrat, if you’re a Christian, you need to ask yourself a question. It’s the one I’ve been wrestling with since last night. If my conviction isn’t strong enough to fight its way from my heart to my lips, is it really a conviction at all?