|Where John Edwards Got it Right|
|Blogs - Ron Hutchcraft's Blogs|
Just the mention of the name John Edwards brings out some really strong reactions. Most of them range from disgusted to just plain venomous.
The former Vice Presidential candidate's actions may not be criminal before the law - man's law, at least - but they violate even our morally jaded society's standards of decency and morality. His wife was dying of cancer. He was having an affair with a campaign worker - and fathering a baby he later denied was his.
So his virtual acquittal on charges of using campaign funds to cover up what he'd done left a lot of people - even some of the jurors - feeling displeased and uneasy.
Then came his statements in front of the courthouse after the verdict. TV's talking heads are dissecting his sincerity, his motives and even the appropriateness of making any statement at all.
I don't know the motives behind John Edwards' public "confession." Sometimes I have a hard time sorting out what my own motives are. But there's one Person who knows. "Motives are weighed by the Lord" ... "He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts" (Proverbs 16:2 ; 1 Corinthians 4:5 ).
But beyond the motives - pure, self-serving or mixed - John Edwards did get some things right in what he said about his wrong.
First, he called the things he's done "sins." That's what God calls them. But before we start feeling all self-righteous ("Yeah, what that guy did was sin, all right!"), we should probably look in the Bible and then the mirror. Because "all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23 ).
Oh, my sins or your sins may be different from some disgraced public figure. But they're all sin before a holy God. Selfishness...pride...backstabbing...lust...jealousy...greed...lying...sex outside of marriage...prejudice...bitterness...rage - they're all on the same list as adultery or murder. Because the issue in our sinning isn't just my behavior. It's the fact that I'm raising my fist to God and saying "I don't care how You want me to live. I'll do what I want, thank You."
Sin isn't breaking somebody's religious rules. It's defying the God who made us. And we don't have to wait for the verdict because the Judge has already spoken. He says "all the world" is "guilty before God" (Romans 3:19 - NLT). The penalty is in, too. "The wages of sin is death" (Romans 6:23 ). That's "death" as in being separated from the God who has the love we're made for...the plan we're made for...and the heaven we want to go to.
It's hard to honestly say what John Edwards said: "There is no one else responsible for my sins." A lot of people never get there. But that acceptance of God's verdict on my me-centered life is where hope begins. And forgiveness.
Which underscores the other thing John Edwards was right about. "I don't think God's through with me." Or with me or you.
He proved His stubborn love for us when "He sent His Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins" (1 John 4:10 ). Jesus is God come looking for us. Dying for us. For everything we've ever done against Him. And because He "does not want anyone to perish" (2 Peter 3:9 ), He will pursue us to our dying breath.
God stands ready to forgive you or me at the moment of our honest repenting of our sin - based on one plea, and only one. "I come in total dependence of Jesus' death for my sin."
And then? Fasten your seat belt. He makes you "a new creation" and "the old has gone, the new has come!" (2 Corinthians 5:17 ). You're not running things anymore. He is.
What He can do with a life is beyond our wildest dreams! No matter what it's been like before Him.