Lessons for Boris from King David

(Photo: Getty/iStock)

I can't help smiling when people tell me the Bible is irrelevant. Yes, I agree it is an old book, and it does focus on people and events that took place several thousand years ago, but that is immaterial. Human nature hasn't changed.

We may be living in a world that finds the characters we encounter in the pages of Scripture unbelievable, but it's perfectly obvious that they lived lives that reflect our own capacity for greatness and tragedy.

Take King David for example. No one had a better chance in life than him. His was a 'rags to riches' story par excellence. Even his dad seems to have thought he had little to offer and yet this insignificant shepherd boy became the greatest king in Israel's history. He was clearly a good man too. Indeed the Bible goes out of its way to stress this by telling us that God chose him because of what he could see in his heart and not because of any physical abilities.

But as good as he was, David was as human as the rest of us. Power went to his head and he seemed to end up thinking the rules didn't apply to him. And so he had an affair, got a married woman pregnant and arranged for her husband to be conveniently killed at work (he was a soldier).

Nathan exposed that sordid truth, but it must have taken a lot of courage to do so. He told David the story of how a rich man had taken advantage of a poor man by stealing his family's beloved ewe lamb and serving it up for dinner. David 'saw red' and said he would punish him for doing such a terrible thing. That was when Nathan issued the devastating words that reduced David to rubble: 'you are the man,' he said.

We know David was a broken man because he wrote a very powerful Psalm (51) in which he acknowledged his faults and begged for God's forgiveness. He said some pretty helpful things about admitting our own faults too.

This is how he puts it: 'going through the motions doesn't please you.' In other words, David was acutely aware that God will forgive us if we mess up but He expects us to come clean and to be open and honest, not calculating.

You might see where I am going with this. I have never been a Boris fan, although I am more than willing to admit that I am as human as he is. We all make mistakes, and thankfully God is more than happy to forgive us.

But I must admit I am so glad that 'the party culture' over which he presided has been exposed and I am hoping both he and his team will put their hands up and admit the 'mistakes' in a much more convincing way than they have done so far. It's not enough to say, 'The Prime Minister has apologised; it's now time to move on.'

A lot of people are angry, a lot of people hurting, and our trust in what our politicians tell us is wearing thin at a time when it is needed most. I say 'and his team' because I believe collective responsibility cuts both ways. There is such a thing as 'collective culpability' too which is why I hope his cabinet and those who work at No 10 will recognise the importance of the way they react in the days ahead. Otherwise they run the risk of being told 'you are the man' too.