TO BE RIGHT AND ACKNOWLEDGED, OR TO WRONG AND ADMIT IT WHICH IS MORE IMPORTANT?
by David Sisler
Augusta, Georgia, while if not "the scenic center of the South," is at least a place associated with thoughts of warm weather we don't plant pansies until October and they bloom until spring. Alas, the weather has been anything but balmy the last few weeks, as anyone who lives close to one of the most famous golf courses in the world can tell you. The temperatures here have rivaled Moscow. And that, is brrrr cold!
I had gone outside around 5:30 a.m. to pick up the newspaper and an hour or so later, my son, Matthew, getting ready to drive to work, asked, "Dad, is there frost on the pumpkins?" Which is Sisler for, "Are the windows frosted over?" I don't know how it started, but, it's our way. When I replied in the affirmative, Matt headed out to start his truck and defrost the windows. He was back inside a few moments later with the announcement that his locks were frozen.
I filled a plastic pitcher with scalding hot water and we returned to the truck, inserted the key into the lock and then slowly poured the hot water over the key. The metal transmitted the heat into the lock and thawed it out. Chalk up another one for the resourcefulness of Dear Old Dad (it's important, every once in a while, to impress em, even if they are all adults now).
Later, for no good reason that I can think of, I was wishing I had kept a list of all the times I had offered fatherly advice to one of my offspring and a child had later said, "Dad, do you remember when you said, So-and-so.' Well, you were right." I wondered how large a compilation that would be. Then I wondered if it would be larger than the opposite list, where I had gone to one of my children and said, "Do you remember when I said, So-and-so.' Well, I was wrong."
Then I wondered, to be right and have it acknowledged, or to be wrong and admit it, which is more important?
Noah was right.
Can you imagine being asked to build a three-story ship which would encompass more than 1.5 million cubic feet in a region where there were no large bodies of water and where it had never rained? Can you imagine the ridicule that would be heaped on the carpenter as he worked year after year on such a seemingly foolish project? Peter wrote, "God waited patiently in the days while the ark was being built" and that patience seems to have endured for 120 years.
Just 16 centuries after the creation of Adam and Eve the "heroes" of the day were men who lived in open disobedience of the Lord God Almighty. Moral distinctions were obliterated. Righteous living was mocked. God waited while Noah built. Then one morning it began to rain. Great underground streams burst their boundaries. The deluge continued for 40 days and lasted for the better part of a year.
Noah was right. When the water began to rise and the ark began to float that was acknowledged by everyone. But by then it was too late for those on the outside of the ark.
Lot was right.
Two men, whom the Bible identifies as angels, stopped one evening in Sodom and prepared to spend the night in the public square. Frightened by his certain knowledge that the visitors would fall prey to Sodom's perverts, Lot urged them to accept hospitality under his roof. The Sodomites encircled Lots house, howling for strange flesh only to be met by blindness the first act of divine judgment on a deluded city.
Undaunted, the men of the city continued to stagger in darkness now literal as well as moral. The angels directed Lot to give a warning to escape to his sons-in-law, but the young men thought he was joking. With dawn spreading its fingers of light across the sky, the fist of God was prepared to annihilate every living creature who remained unrepentant. With the morning sun still climbing in the sky, the cities of the plain were destroyed.
Lot was right, but only he and his daughters escaped with their lives. Remember Lot's wife never really believed what God's messengers had said.
David was wrong.
"There were two men in a certain town," the prophet Nathan told the king, "one rich and the other poor. The rich man had a very large number of sheep and cattle, but the poor man had nothing except one little ewe lamb he had bought. He raised it, and it grew up with him and his children. It shared his food, drank from his cup and even slept in his arms. It was like a daughter to him.
"Now a traveler came to the rich man, but the rich man refrained from taking one of his own sheep or cattle to prepare a meal for the traveler who had come to him. Instead, he took the ewe lamb that belonged to the poor man and prepared it for the one who had come to him."
Incensed at the outrage, David said to Nathan, "As surely as the LORD lives, the man who did this deserves to die!"
Nathan said to David, "You are the man!"
Then David said to Nathan, "I have sinned against the LORD. Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight."
After David repented, and only then, Nathan said, "The LORD has put away your sin."
To be right and have it acknowledged, or to be wrong and admit it, which is more important?
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Copyright 2001 by David Sisler. All Rights Reserved.
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