Radio Leicester Thought for the Day

John Denney 14 September 1998


I’ve been reading a lot about someone recently.  Guess who?


He started life in a poor family in an obscure and unimportant region of his country.  Younger than most who reached his position, he became Commander-in-chief of his country’s armies, and went on to win a war against a dangerous power in the Middle East.  In his leisure time, he was something of a musician.  He was a very successful politician, and made policies and laws which brought great prosperity to his people.  He brought in a “three strikes and you’re out” law which gave his people confidence that criminals would be brought to justice.


There was a down side to this great success, however.  This otherwise great man had a weakness.  He had a succession of mistresses and got into a lot of trouble over one of them in particular.  His sexual misdeeds became the subject of scandal and caused some people to call for his resignation.  He lied about his sordid behaviour, but eventually things got so bad that he repented in public for his  misdeeds.


Well, I guess you realise that I’m talking about ….. King David, the King that the Jews look back to as the establisher of their kingdom.  Despite all his wrongdoing, particularly in arranging for the husband of  a woman he lusted after to be killed in battle, he came to  represent a kingly ideal.  The Israelites forgave King David and went on to regard him as one of the greatest Jews of all time.  They saw in him many of the qualities they believed their Messiah would have.


Christians believe that Jesus was the Messiah that the Jews were looking for.  And Jesus had something to say about sexual misconduct.  Some Jewish leaders wanted to stone a woman caught in the act of adultery to death.  Jesus told them “the sinless one among you, go first: throw the stone” – and the men went away ashamed.  And he turned to the woman and said “Where are they?  Does no one condemn you?”  “No one, master.”  “Neither do I,” said Jesus, “Go on your way, but from now on, don’t sin.”


President Clinton has asked for forgiveness for his grubby conduct. It remains to be seen whether the American people will forgive him for betraying the high ideals of his office.


But perhaps we might start forgiving those who have sinned against us, not because they deserve it, but because we are all sinners too.


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