If You, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with You there is forgiveness, that You may be feared. Psalm 130:3-4
John Wayne has been dead over 35 years.
Amazingly, even though Wayne hasn't done much work for the last three decades, he still is one of the country's most popular actors. In 1994 the Harris Poll began asking people, "Who is your favorite movie star?" In 1994 John Wayne made the list. And he made the list in 1995, 1996, 1997, and, well, he is the only movie star who has made the list every year and the only one who has ever made the list posthumously.
A pretty popular guy? You bet -- at least in some places.
One of those places is not the California Assembly. A few weeks ago, Assemblyman Matthew Harper suggested Wayne's birthday of May 26 be declared "John Wayne Day."
Well, that's not going to happen. The opposition said Wayne had supported the House Un-American Activities Committee and the John Birch Society. They said he had some disturbing views about race and had made some politically incorrect comments.
Now these lawmakers have managed to honor people like Franklin Roosevelt, even though that president had Japanese-Americans interred during World War II. For some reason the same forgiveness and generosity was not shown to Wayne.
Looking at the debate, one of the representatives commented, "Every one of us is imperfect."
It was that last line which got me to thinking and got me to realizing how imperfect I've been. During the course of my life I have said things, done things, thought things for which I am embarrassed and ashamed and ... I wouldn't admit that publicly if I thought I was alone.
The truth is if people want to dig long enough and deep enough they are going to come up with dirt on all of us. They will come up with stuff that will hound us out of polite society, have our friends ignore our phone calls, and have our relatives call us the "embarrassing black sheep of the family."
That would all happen and none of us could say such reactions were unjust.
This is why I find it amazing that the perfect Lord who knows all of our iniquities has decided that He would prefer to forgive us rather than knock us down to size.
To that end He sent His Son, our Redeemer, into this world. Jesus came to give Himself as the Ransom who would rescue us from the devil, the world, and ourselves. Jesus' sacrifice is the merciful medicine that can heal our souls from every malicious malady of sin.
The Psalmist had it right: "If You, O LORD, should mark iniquities, O Lord, who could stand? But with You there is forgiveness, that You may be feared."
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I, one of Your imperfect children, come to You confessing my sins and rejoicing in Your forgiveness. May all the world know Your grace which has changed my world, my life, my future in Jesus. In His Name. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries