Barrister Constance Briscoe has been jailed for 16 months for lying to police in ex-cabinet minister Chris Huhne’s speeding points case.

The punishment sent out the message that “nobody is above the law”.

Jailing her, judge Mr Justice Baker said the conviction would have a “devastating effect” on Briscoe’s career, adding that she had been “something of a role model to others”. (Taken from the BBC News Website)

Listening to the radio today as I drove to pick up my daughter from playgroup, I heard caller after caller sharing how they felt as this case has come to light. Words like ‘devastated’, ‘let down’ and ‘grieved’ were all used by those who had seen this barrister, author and magistrate as a role model.

How do we respond as believers when our heroes fall? I too have people whom I look up to. Mostly they aren’t famous, but some of them have over the years let me down; either by their actions or by my feelings on how they should have acted in a given situation. Even some of my most loyal leaders have let me down, which can be very discouraging. I have learnt that no one is perfect but the Lord!

This is not to excuse their actions or indeed the actions of those in the public light, but as human beings we often judge others more strictly than we judge ourselves. Society can portray a self-righteousness and sense of moral indignation when celebrities and people in high places mess up. but how many times when we’ve done something wrong or let down others do we say ‘I’m only human!’. When the shoe is on the other foot it seems we forget.

The Bible says this about the human heart:

Jeremiah 17:9 (NKJV)
The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked. Who can know it?

Proverbs 20:6 (NKJV)
Most men will proclaim each his own goodness, But who can find a faithful man?

These scriptures (and many more) point to the fact that the human heart – no matter how well intentioned – cannot be trusted. The Bible tells us that man looks at the outward but God looks at the heart. This is why we ought to fix our eyes on the Lord Jesus as our perfect example. He is never-changing and cannot lie; it’s not part of His divine attributes.

Hebrews 13:8 (NKJV)
Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.

Numbers 23:19
God is not a man, so he does not lie.
 He is not human, so he does not change his mind. 
Has he ever spoken and failed to act?
 Has he ever promised and not carried it through?

You see, people – even believers, leaders, and pastors – will let you down. Not intentionally, but they will. So we ought to keep our focus on the Lord. He is our hero, He is our standard and He is our inspiration. Everything we do, we do to please Him! God doesn’t expect perfection from us, rather He wants our obedience.

So when our heroes fall we pray for them and constantly ask God to keep us from sin too. We are not immune from these or worse things, rather each of us should keep our hearts and actions pure before the Lord. Ask God to help you like David did after his affair with Bathsheba (which involved lies, murder and the like!). David opened his heart and prayed this prayer:

Psalm 51:5-12 (NLT)
For I was born a sinner—yes, from the moment my mother conceived me. But you desire honesty from the womb, teaching me wisdom even there. Purify me from my sins, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Oh, give me back my joy again; you have broken me—now let me rejoice. Don’t keep looking at my sins. Remove the stain of my guilt. Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.

Why not take a moment today and examine your own heart?