This brief post by Pastor friend Jim Abernathy contains much wisdom. RMF
Pastor Jim Abernathy
“All I can say is my trust remains in the Lord.” Those were the words of former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell as he left the courthouse in Richmond yesterday after being found guilty on eleven counts of corruption while in office. McDonnell often alluded to his faith upon entering or leaving court during his five-week trial. Some see these words as a disingenuous attempt on the former governor’s part to paint himself as a man of faith who believed in his innocence and in the divine intervention he hoped would bring about a favorable outcome. Some friends and supporters hear these words as continued affirmation of the character of a man they still believe in. And some simply shake their heads in disgust at the perceived hypocrisy so often identified in the blurred lines between faithful words and dishonest actions.
I cannot truly know the heart of Bob McDonnell. I have never met the man, but even if I had, and even if I were a close friend, I still could not say without hesitancy that I knew his heart, the deep treasures of his soul. Few are so transparent that others could say unequivocally that they could always judge another’s motives without doubt. Such mystery seems lost in our wall to wall, 24/7, media driven society where opinions are tossed about as often random thoughts meant more to fill air time or further a particular political or ideological perspective than establish truth. Truth lies not in the perspective of Democrat, Republican, or Independent, nor does it lie in the ever-changing court of public opinion. There is but One who truly knows the hearts of men and women. The Psalmist reminds us of this as he writes in the thirty-third Psalm, “From his dwelling place God observes all who live on earth. God is the one who made all their hearts, the one who knows everything they do” The 139th Psalm speaks to the heaviness of this awareness; “Lord, you have examined me. You know me. You know when I sit down and when I stand up. Even from far away, you comprehend my plans. You study my traveling and resting. You are thoroughly familiar with all my ways. There isn’t a word on my tongue,Lord, that you don’t already know completely. You surround me–front and back. You put your hand on me. That kind of knowledge is too much for me; it’s so high above me that I can’t fathom it. Where could I go to get away from your spirit? Where could I go to escape your presence?” The Psalmists stand as examples of human frailty in the midst of faith. The characters throughout Holy Scripture relate not as persons who live above the sin and corruption of the world, but as persons who in the midst of their own failures, seek and find forgiveness in the mercy and grace of the One who knows everything about them, yet loves them still.
A Virginia jury of twelve men and women heard testimony over the course of the trial and in fair and unencumbered deliberation, reached a conclusion of guilt for Governor McDonnell. There will be appeals made and the verdicts will be brought into question and either upheld or overturned. Commentators have lamented this first-ever conviction of a Virginia governor for corruption, and there have been many calls for needed reform within the political process in our state. There will most likely be changes forthcoming as a result in hopes that this circumstance will not be repeated. I find, however, that hope lies, not in legislative change, though that seems to be sorely needed, but in the words of a man tried and found guilty; “All I can say is that my trust remains in the Lord.” Regardless of his intent in uttering them, there is power in these words for forgiveness, restoration, wisdom, and peace.
As one man who recognizes his own sinful ways and who stands in need of God’s continuing grace, all I can say is that my trust remains in the Lord.