To anyone who was at least school age 40 years ago, it goes without saying that the above statement was made by President Richard Nixon as he was under scrutiny for a number of things that included income tax evasion and, most notably, a bungled break-in attempt at the Watergate Hotel that eventually brought down his presidency. Most of the people behind the Watergate scandal ended up serving prison time and Nixon ultimately announced his resignation 40 years ago this past Friday, August 8th, and formally resigned 40 years ago yesterday, August 9, 1974. It was the first time in the history of the country that a sitting president voluntarily gave up his office as a result of improprieties.
Gerald Ford took over Nixon’s place and pardoned the former president in an effort to heal the country and not put the American people through the distress of a trial to determine the legitimacy of Nixon’s actions during Watergate. There was quite a bit of outrage over the pardon but Ford did not waver in his resolve to have the country move on. It is apparent, on hindsight, that Ford shortened his own tenure as president by issuing the pardon to Nixon. And to this day there are those who think that Nixon had a secret deal with Ford to issue the pardon in exchange for the presidency. Ford always seemed like a decent man; especially in contrast to his predecessor.
Come to think of it, the Bible is full of examples of people who are crooks and especially in the Proverbs there are numerous verses that reference fools and crooks. Our verse for the evening, from Prov. 8:5-8, tells us, “You who are naive, discern wisdom! And you fools, understand discernment! Listen, for I will speak excellent things, and my lips will utter what is right. For my mouth speaks truth, and my lips hate wickedness. All the words of my mouth are righteous; there is nothing in them twisted or crooked.”
My encouragement this evening is that God wants us to be wise, not fools and crooks. And not only that, He wants us to be holy, while most people think that happy is number one on the list – it isn’t. My prayer is that you will practice a commitment to the Lord in honesty and integrity and, hopefully, we will never again have to face the disgrace of a president who is blatantly corrupt or dishonest, regardless of which side of the political aisle you sit on. Have a great day in the Lord, grace and peace…