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Wednesday, September 29, 2010

What I'm Reading Today: Genesis 27-29

There are lots of sneaky, under-handed games that get played out in the field of politics. One of the sneakiest and most-underhanded is something known in political circles as push polls.

Push polls are instruments designed to influence voters by using hypothetical charges against one's opponents that are subtly wrapped into the poll itself.

Let's say, for instance, that John is running for office against Barbara. John goes out and hires a firm to do some polling to determine how close the race is. When the polling company calls voters, in addition to asking a direct question like "Are you voting for John or Barbara?" they will sneak in a deceptive question like, "Would it influence your vote if you learned that Barbara stole a million dollars from one of her previous employers?"

The question that is asked most often has no basis in truth. And because of its wording, John's campaign usually is not held liable for slander since his campaign never actually said Barbara stole a million dollars. John's campaign simply planted the seed in the back of voters mind by asking the question. This is one of the dirtiest tactics in American politics.

While the court system has tried to reign in some of this unethical behavior, lots and lots of unethical candidates have won election to office based on the use of this practice. It's just not right that those who engage in unethical behavior so often seem to get rewarded.

I was reminded of this practice as I read today's passage from Genesis. In that passage, we hear the story of how Rebekah teamed up with Jacob to unethically steal the birth right from Esau. Every time I read that story I get riled up that Rebekah and Jacob got away with their treachery.

"What kind of a lesson is that to include in the Bible!?" I wondered for years.

Little by little over the years, my perspective on the matter has shifted somewhat. Instead of assuming that God had explicitly endorsed Rebekah and Jacob's unethical behavior – as if God were behind their awful plan – instead I see how God found a way to be present behind the scenes and still be there to help achieve a positive outcome. Despite his moral shortcomings, for instance, Jacob still became the father of the twelve sons whose descendants formed the tribes of Israel.

That shift in thinking helped lower my frustration level and begin to see things differently.

Perhaps there is an area in your life where it may seem as if someone is being rewarded for the unethical ways in which the person conducts him/herself and it has frustrated you to no end. Instead of looking at the situation in the short-term, I would encourage you to find a way to step back and look at the situation from a long-term perspective. Maybe - just maybe – there might still be a chance for a positive outcome that can come from the bad situation.

Til next time …

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