Having battled through the global “pandemic” we are now being told that we must learn to live with Covid. In mid-January there were several examples of those who have been caught
breaking (or bending) isolation rules and having to deal with the consequences.
I am not making political points. But let's look at Novak Djokovic and Boris Johnson and consider their behaviour as examples of human nature. Their situations are still developing. But there are interesting comparisons.
Both involve prominent public figures breaking rules; both have pleaded mitigating circumstances; both have been tried in public – Novak in a Court of Law & Boris through an official investigation; both have significant public support but also numerous critics (even from former friends); both came to a conclusion that they should apologise on behalf of others; both have caused a great deal of hurt and anguish which could have been avoided; and for both, their immediate future is uncertain and is
probably in the hands of others.
There has been the drama of Novak Djokovic, the world’s Number One tennis player, being refused a visa to play in the Australian Open. A judge overturned this decision. Then it emerged that, after testing positive for Covid in December, he failed to follow isolation rules in Serbia. Also, his visa application was not properly completed. Djokovic wrote "My agent sincerely apologises for the administrative mistake in ticking the incorrect box. This was a human error and certainly not deliberate."
Then we have Boris Johnson, officials at Number 10 and the “partygate” scandal. Boris is known for a philosophy of “never apologise, never explain”. That has made this mess worse. On 12th January he had to apologise in Parliament for the behaviour of himself and others attending parties in Downing Street. But even then, he tried to gloss it over and enraged some parliamentary colleagues just after by allegedly telling them that he was “bravely taking the blame for other people’s mistakes”.
As we consider Novak and Boris, we will have our own views about what they have done. They will, undoubtedly, need to make changes and face consequences for their mistakes. Which of us have not bent some of the rules during lock-down?
In thinking about these examples of “rule breaking” I am reminded of a story in the Bible (see John 8). The religious leaders of the day brought a woman who had been caught in adultery to Jesus. We read that they were using this question as a trap, to have a basis for accusing him. The law, they thought, was clear but Jesus’ response was challenging: ‘Let any one of you who is without sin be the first to
throw a stone at her.’ No-one was prepared to do this – they knew that they, too, were sinners.
Jesus said to the woman, ‘Then neither do I condemn you. Go now and leave your life of sin.’ Jesus did not condone what she had done but he urged her to change.
But what about us? Are we prepared to examine our own lives and actions; to ask forgiveness (from others and from God); and to follow Jesus’ rules – to love God … and our neighbours as ourselves?