This article is going to be different. This one is going to mix politics and religion and that is always controversial. As most people in the US, I watched Clinton's speech Monday night, and have had various reactions floating through my head since. Questions floating to each of us include, Was he sincere?, Why not give it in January or sooner?, Is he right about presidents having private lives?, Should it be left to him and God? In the midst of this I received a very challenging letter from Rick Stilwell in South Carolina entitled "Forgiveness…Off The Edge". In his letter he states:
"I have forgiven President Bill Clinton.
Inasmuch as he's offended me as a citizen of this country, I've forgiven him. And on top of that, I believe him when he says he's sorry. I won't cry out for his impeachment (however, in the case for true "repentance" for his actions, he might need to further contemplate resignation -- but that's between him and the Lord)."
He then goes on explains why he is saying that. He further states that:
"I believe he is telling the truth. I trust that he will try to "make things right." And I will defend his honor, even as he attempts to restore it in his home. I will not hold this transgression against him personally, though it might affect my future voting choices."
Well this really hit home. Each of us has done things wrong in the face of God and our people. Some of the things seem like bigger wrongs than pothers, and some have successfully hidden our wrongs. But if we are Christians or are trying to lead God fearing lives we have gone to God and asked for forgiveness. And if we expect God to forgive, then should we not consider that God expects us to do likewise. I suspect all of us, I know I have, have expected, or desperately wanted others to forgive something we did wrong and to be allowed to start with a clean slate.
But Dwight, you say, you don't understand. Bill Clinton isn't just any average American citizen, but he is serving as our President, our highest leader. I do understand. To do what I am proposing here is difficult. It is not going to be easy for me to do, but let's consider what God may be directing. This is not the first time that a major leader of a God fearing nation has been caught with his pants down. Consider another that came to my mind after reading Rick's letter. The leader I am considering, was anointed as a young man to be leader, and grew up to become that leader. He was consider to be one of the strongest leaders of the world of his time, and used his army to control problems in other parts of the world. But one day he too took part in an inappropriate activity with a most beautiful young woman. But the story gets worse, it wasn't a single intern at his office, but another man's wife, and then he discovered he had gotten her pregnant and he had the husband killed. Needless to say at this point you are beginning to think that our Bill may not be that bad of a guy. Well a special investigator came and told him the wrong he had done, and that punishment was coming. He realized it at that point and asked forgiveness from God, and God only.
Think now, what were the two places that Bill told us Monday night that he was going to have to work out his forgiveness. One was with his wife and daughter, and the second was with God.
Now back to the story. Have you figured out yet who the person is in my story? The special investigator was Nathan, not Ken Starr. The woman involved was Bathsheba, and by now you should realize the leader was King David.
But the story does not end there. David asked forgiveness from God, for what he had done, and God granted it. But that was not the end. David went on to become the greatest king that Israel had and probably the greatest the world has seen. After all how many nations' leaders can you remember over the last 3000 years? And from his lineage came our savior. Not bad for someone that messed up that bad.
And where does that put us today? One, let's give Clinton a chance. He just might turn out to be the greatest president we ever had. (And remember this was not the last time David messed up). Two, I think God may be truly speaking to us today through this situation. After all there is no question that the Bible does cover a similar situation. Third, go back to your Bible and read II Samuel chapters 11 and 12 again and make sure I am really telling you the right story.
Let's practice forgiveness. This does not mean that I will agree with all of Clinton's policies. And I don't expect you will either. (I suspect no one supports all his policies 100%, as we all have different thoughts and opinions and that is part of what makes living fun). And lastly let's pray with and for Clinton for him to receive that forgiveness, and the guidance that he needs so desperately in today's crazy world. Clinton may come to realize that there is penalties that God will make him pay, but that is between him and God.
Again thank you to Rick for challenging my mind. If you would like to receive Rick Stilwell's letters, and they make you think, write him at RevRickwell@Hotmail.com with SUBSCRIBE EDGE in the title.
I received a response from Operation Lifesaver this week in response to my recent article on Railroad safety. Here it is:
">From: Gerri Hall
>To: "'Dwight Watt'" >Subject: RE: #4 Railroad Safety >Date: Wed, 19 Aug 1998 13:15:23 -0400 > >Dear Mr. Watt: > >Thank you for your thoughts. You make a good point and there are many railroad companies doing just what you are suggesting (many are doing research on what will be most effective at the same time). Now if we can just get folks to drive more carefully as they are approaching crossings so they can stop in time when they do see a train! > >Thanks again, >G. Hall >Operation Lifesaver, Inc."
This is a little article I am doing across the Internet. I plan to write several times a week on a variety of subjects. It may be religious at times, political at times, and at other times just my reactions on something happening out there. It will often be like an op-ed article. If I do what I intend, you will at times want to shout I agree, other times you will want to say Dwight has really lost it now, but most importantly I want to challenge you to think. Feel free to forward this to others. If you don't want to get this e-mail let me know. Feel free to use what you read from me, but I request you give me credit and send a tear sheet. Thanks.
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