WWJD? What Would Jesus Do? Well, according to former Governor and current Rep. Mark Sanford (R-S.C.,) he would let his fiancee know it was over through a Facebook post heavily steeped in Christianity. He cites Jesus once, Christ twice, prayer twice, and “God” five times.
You may remember Mark Sanford from back in June of 2009 when, as governor, he went AWOL for six days. No biggie. His spokesman stated he had gone to hike the Appalachian Trail. But that wasn’t true. Or the spokesman is a big fan of sexual innuendo. Either way, it turned out Sanford had redeemed his frequent flyer miles and flown to Buenos Aires to spend some much-needed quality time away from his wife and children and with his girlfriend, journalist Maria Belen Chapur.
The fallout for Sanford wasn’t bad. Because only democrats get in trouble for infidelity even though they don’t legislate people’s love or sex lives, he remained governor. In 2012 the by now divorced Lothario became engaged to Chapur and in 2013 he won a special election for Tim Scott‘s seat in congress.
But on Friday, Sanford’s Facebook friends learned there was trouble in paradise. In an oversharing, TMI and yet self-aware post, Sanford writes, “I apologize for the length of this post, but given the gravity of the issue at hand when I sat down to write late last night a long list of things came to my mind.” He goes on to explain how his decision was grounded in Christianity, history and conflict resolution:
More than anything, I am struck by two truths. One, it seems that history well documents that those who work to avoid conflict at all costs wind up being those destined in many instances to find much conflict. Peace at all costs rarely brings it. On the other hand, Jesus was incredibly clear in the book of Luke that we are to turn the other cheek at offenses and that if someone took our shirt, we were to offer our coat as well.
Sanford then reveals that he was being served with another lawsuit by his ex-wife Jenny. What he does not reveal, however, was that Jenny Sanford demanded that he undergo a psychiatric exam and take both anger management and parenting classes. With the aid of prayer and friends, as well as, once again, conflict studies, Sanford has figured out what to do:
My question now though is how to respond given I am being summoned to the court room again on Monday. I have prayed on it, thought on it and asked the advice of friends.
Here is where I have settled:
I cannot do this anymore. In all life there comes a point wherein lines must be drawn in the way that we attempt to respond in ways that don’t invite more in the way of conflict and add more in the way of modeling Christ’s humility in giving in every instance.
Sanford then smears his wife. He presents her as a gold digger:
She wanted a certain financial number that I didn’t have, and so I gave her pieces of our family farm that my dad and mom assembled in the 1950’s and 60’s. They were obviously not “marital assets” normally divided in a divorce, but the only way I could manage to get to her number.
And Sanford slyly slutshames Jenny too:
Jenny herself has certainly not lived up to this clause [Exposing the minor child overnight to a member of the opposite sex not related by blood who could be reasonably construed as a paramour].
And then Sanford lets his fiancee what was up:
No relationship can stand forever this tension of being forced to pick between the one you love and your own son or daughter, and for this reason Belen and I have decided to call off the engagement. Maybe there will be another chapter when waters calm with Jenny, but at this point the environment is not conducive to building anything given no one would want to be caught in the middle of what’s now happening.
That’s right. Chapur learned that they were no longer getting married the same time the entire rest of the world learned that they were no longer getting married. She also doesn’t believe Sanford, since dishonesty sometimes comes with the cheating territory. She says, “I think that I was not useful to him anymore — he made the engagement thing four months before the elections… So this is not about his son, this is about his career and his ambitions.”
But Sanford, for his part, seems to be in a pretty good place, as he waxes religious, philosophical and optimistic:
I am left with a wise oldest son who’s wisdom is to follow Christ’s example of just letting go and trusting that God is in control and will ensure his youngest brother’s future success. That the key to ending conflict sometimes just means walking away from it. If there is a way I can do that without walking from my son, I will pursue it.
Then he gets a little self-helpy
Finally, I am left humbled in my inability to determine outcomes and reminded again of how the only thing we can ultimately work on fixing is ourselves. So for me these days it means rededication to trying as best I can to walk in the light of God’s grace. It means pointing to truth wherever I see it and trying to live by it.
And then he gets a little audio-visual mixed-metaphory
It means listening a bit more so that maybe I can better understand the grand canvas of what I don’t see and understand.
And then signs off, of course, my asking for prayers:
I ask for both your prayers and consideration in this process.
Thank you. Mark.
Maybe he’ll run for president.