Friday, June 01, 2007

The Power of Honor & Respect

Thursday the Reverend Billy Graham was recognized for 60 years of ministry with the grand opening of the Library that bears his name in Charlotte, North Carolina. The 88 year old preacher who is very frail and in poor health has been known through the decades as a friend and confidant to every President of the United States since Harry Truman.

By request of the Graham family three former presidents were in attendance and jointly brought the “keynote” message at the gathering attended by 1,500 people. Presidents Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton credited Graham with bringing a message of hope and freedom to people oppressed by segregation in the USA in the 1960’s and tyrannized by repressive communist regimes during the Cold War.

As I observed the three former presidents side-by-side I wondered about the emotions that might be churning within Carter and Bush. Recently Jimmy Carter had commented in an interview that he considered the presidency of George W. Bush to be the worst in all of American history. Those are not only strong words but unprecedented as there has been an unspoken “rule” that former presidents don’t criticize current sitting presidents. Tends to be bad for moral not only in the country but injurious to several international situations that need America to be strong and united.

Yet here was Bush the elder shoulder-to-shoulder with Carter, the critic of Bush’s son, for a public celebration of Billy Graham. How so? This was a great picture of the power of honor and respect. Because Bush and Carter were choosing to honor and respect Reverend Graham they were able to be with one another civilly, cordially, even friendly.

Billy Graham is a great man. God is many times greater. That is why it should be expected that when men and women who regard the greatness of God are in the presence of one another they should be able to get along. If we gather to honor and respect (aka worship) God then His presence at our gathering should govern our behavior as well as our feelings toward one another. Amen?

Jesus said, “By this shall all know that you are My disciples, that you love one another.”

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