By David Ferguson
"Live your life in a way that you would not be ashamed to sell the family parrot to the town gossip." --Will Rogers
There are many passages throughout the Bible that teach the importance of men and women who are children of God to maintain honesty and to have unimpeachable integrity. Job 31:6 says, "Let me be weighed in an even balance, that God may know my integrity." This is something I know that I strive daily to accomplish, but unfortunately, I realize I have failed at times. If there is one moment in my life in which I wish that I could go back and change, it would be that fall day in October 1987 when I declined to walk out of a Marriage and Family class at SIUC wherein gays and lesbians were given the platform to proclaim their life of sin to be okay, and just as good, acceptable and noble of a family and lifestyle as any.
I readily admit that that time of my life was not a pleasant period, (other than the Cardinals winning the pennant!), but that is still no excuse. I had a brother who had taken his own life in August of that year. My grandfather, whom I loved dearly, passed away shortly thereafter. And to top it off, I was going through a very painful breakup with a woman with whom I was engaged. But as I said earlier, none of that excuses me from my shortfall in not doing what was right.
There was a young man there that day, however, who did have the courage to take a stand for the Lord, and I have never forgotten what he did. He calmly stood up and said to the class, "I am a Christian, and I can not sit idly by why this is being proclaimed. It is my prayer for each of you that you will come to repentance, and receive forgiveness in Christ as I have." He then walked out. I don’t know who he was, but he sure left an impression on me. How I wish now that I had joined him! But who knows? Maybe through the advent of the Internet that young man, who is now fast approaching middle age, will read this, and know that what he did helped change the course of the life of at least one individual.
Through the unfathomable love and grace of God, though, even this sin of mine has been forgiven, for John wrote, "If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)
Although it has been forgiven, I really wish I had never let this happen. I wish I had been stronger then, and could have said as David did, "Let integrity and uprightness preserve me, for I wait for Thee." (Psalm 25:21) Would that all that are followers of Christ make this their motto as well, for "Better is the poor that walks in his integrity, than he that is perverse in his ways, though he be rich." (Proverbs 28:6)
May God bless you!
- David R. Ferguson preaches for the Lakeland Church of Christ in Mattoon, IL. He may be contacted through the congregation's website: http://lakelandchurchofchrist.web.officelive.com/default.aspx