Church, Culture & Society, Faith, Politics

St. James Comey and the Need for Self-awareness

Prior to his interference in the 2015 presidential race, relatively few Americans had heard of former FBI Directory James Comey. As events have unfolded and the thinking of Comey has been revealed, the rationale for his interference in the presidential election was not out of respect for protocol, ethics, or procedure, nor out of concern for the country, but what one New York Times writer called “a sense of moral rectitude.” Comey has been called “The Last Boy Scout.” A Fox News contributor describes Comey as “pretentious,” and “self-righteous.” On March 18, 2018 Gregg Jarrett tweeted, “If Comey cleared [presidential candidate Hillary] Cinton for political reasons (as evidence suggests) that’s obstruction of justice. If he gave false testimony to Congress, well…you know.   I could go all day long on Comey. Looking forward to his work of fiction with the pretentious, self-righteous title [“A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership”].

The irony, and many say hypocrisy, of James Comey is that what he condemns in others, and has sent people to jail for doing, he himself has done. Specifically, Comey has leaked classified information, after telling President Trump he is not a leaker or a weasel. He has lied repeatedly under oath. By his own testimony before Congress and his own declassified memos following a presidential meeting, Comey has exposed himself. Former US Attorney Joseph diGenova views him as a “dirty cop.” And yet Comey remains unaware of his moral failures, inconsistencies, and fraudulent representation of the facts. He has no insight into the harm he has caused the nation, or the shame and distrust he has brought to the reputation of the FBI as an institution. In this behavior he is not alone.

It is hard for people to be honest with self and honest with God. The human syndrome to protect bad behavior is as old as Adam. When confronted with his lawlessness and rebellion against the known will of God, Adam did not acknowledge his transgression, repent, and assure the Lord it would not happen again. Adam began to shift the blame from self to God! “And the man said, The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat.” (Gen. 3:12)

The Bible explains why individuals find it difficult to be self-aware of their own faults. They are self-deceived. “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9)

Self-deception is rooted in pride. People have an exalted opinion of their own innate goodness. Paul W. Powell once observed: “Pride is so subtle that if we aren’t careful we’ll be proud of our humility. When this happens our goodness becomes badness. Our virtues become vices. We can easily become like the Sunday school teacher who, having told the story of the Pharisee and the publican, said, ‘Children, let’s bow our heads and thank God we are not like the Pharisee!’”

Self-deception is rationalized by the failure found in others. A person who is unaware of their own sinful behavior will be well aware of the transgressions of others, real or imagined. The failures of others are magnified and condemned in the strongest terms, with emotional intensity.

Self-deception is justified by the cultivations of victimization. Comey sees himself the victim of political machinations by President Donald Trump, for the president fired him without cause. Of course he did. No cause whatsoever James Comey. People who feel victimized engage in virtue signaling. They seek allies to side with them against the person they want to discredit, divorce, get away from, or retaliate against. They refuse to see that they are just as offensive in their words, deeds, attitude, and actions, as those they are being victimized by. The hunted becomes the hunter. The wounded become the one who wounds. The rational becomes the irrational one.

Self-deception is magnified when emotions replace rationale dialogue. Instruction in righteousness is dismissed. Godly counsel is not sought, or appreciated, if heard. Neither man nor God Almighty will tell a person who is full of emotion what is right and wrong or what should be done. Speaking and acting from an emotional state allows a person to feel powerful, righteous, virtuous, and superior to all others. At the same time conflicting thoughts of being wronged, misunderstood, tired, disappointed, and depressed, flood the soul.

Is there hope for a person who has no self-awareness and is self-deceived? The Biblical answer is yes, there is hope. Though Eve was deceived and had no initial self-awareness of her wrong behavior, she received God’s grace and forgiveness. The Lord personally clothed Eve, and Adam too, with a covering of His own making. (Gen. 3:21) If God is merciful, He will arrest the emotional madness of individuals as He did with Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:1ff), restore reason as he did with Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 4:34), and allow a person to have self-awareness leading to repentance, restoration to fellowship with God, thereby allowing love to freely flow to others.

For a person who must deal with a personality that has little to no self-awareness, Biblical counsel is found in Roman 12:17-21. “Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord. “BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (NASU)

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