Friday, December 22, 2006

Our Collective Voice - Grace

Dear Liestoppers,

I’ve spent some time recently thinking about grace and character and the lacrosse case.

My son is a straight A 15 year old. At 3 weeks old, he sat at my twice alma mater’s Cameron center court. Duke Banners, tee shirts, and sweats abound in his room – ok, sometimes not where they ought to be but they are proudly displayed both at home and at school

Recently he received a 92 on an English Paper. (Guess things have changed indeed because that was always a “B” for us, but it was an A for him.) He noted that the teacher made a mistake and brought it to her attention. She marked it accordingly changing his grade to an 88 – a B even in my day. His friends teased and ridiculed him for telling her.

I told him they were jealous – just plain jealous of the character it takes to take responsibility and to value ones own integrity. And I told him I was extraordinarily proud.

Hold that thought for a moment.

Dr. Jerry Bridges ("What is Grace?") most eloquently defined Grace as: God's favor through Christ to people who deserve His wrath. T here can be no doubt that many enablers of the now non-hoax deserve wrath. They receive the wrath from many of us each day.

Leaders understand Grace and Character. But both have been in short supply in this case.

We’ve seen some extraordinary even public demonstrations of character. And we’ve labeled them the heroes that they are.

But we’ve rarely seen demonstrations of grace. Tom Crowley received the wrath of many. He also received the grace of even more as he publicly apologized. Your blog, John in Carolina, CrystalMess, KC’s and others showed great character and grace as you extended your thanks and recognition of his courage to admit his humanity and mistakes.

We need to lead those deserving wrath to a demonstration of their character through grace.

To Mike Nifong:

Mike, you screwed up. I know it, you know it, and a ton of other people know it. It is important that you come clean and take your licks. If you do so in a most public and humble fashion you may receive grace. If you do not, you will continue to receive wrath. You will continue to receive wrath for a variety of reasons but perhaps mostly because you have a leadership position requiring more from you – it just comes with the job. You see, we have this notion that we expect character from our elected leading officials – and we get pretty ticked off when they don’t demonstrate it. Don’t get me wrong though, just because you come forward to take your licks does not mean you won’t, like in my son’s case, receive a B. Frankly, I think yours is going to be a F. That’s just the way it is. But you have a chance to regain grace.

Mike, you are not alone. There are others in leadership positions that have not yet demonstrated the character deep within themselves. However, one by one they will do so because it is part of their jobs. They also recognize if they don’t do so, they, like you, will likely lose their jobs or at least will lose respect of those they are to lead because they failed to demonstrate character. For real leaders with character the lose of that respect gnaws at them every minute of the day.

The so called “Tipping Point” has been reached Mike.

Who will be next in demonstrating their character Mike?

When will be the next demonstration of character in this charade Mike?

When and who?




Anonymous said...

For those in your audience with no personal code or who have never experienced grace, this amazing post may well have been written in Greek.

Mike Nifong will not stand down from this hoax as a display of intergrity nor grace. He will stand down for the same reason he persecuted this hoax in the first place. His own personal and political gain.

He has no personal code of ethics and although he, like many of us does not deserve grace, he will receive and has already received much, just the same.


Anonymous said...

A few poignant words from "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" -

God is not dead, nor doth he sleep
The wrong shall fail
The right prevail
With peace on earth goodwill toward men.

Merry Christmas, Reade, Collin and Dave.

don t. said...

Beautifully written. You know, I hold less enmity toward Nifong than I do toward brodhead. Lions roar, dogs bark and hack politicians lie and cheat. But what brodhead did was unconscionable. He is supposed to know better. He is a dis-grace-ful (to coin a word) embarrassment.

bill anderson said...

Actually, that comes from "I heard the bells on Christmas Day" by Longfellow. But it still fits.

Phil Yancey's book "What's So Amazing about Grace?" is a classic and one I would endorse.

The system has shown too much grace to prosecutors who lie, but Nifong still must face his Maker. Some hardcore repentance must be in order here, as lies go to the heart of the system.

Those of us who are Christians understand the nature of grace, and I need to say that no one deserves it. I am no more deserving of the Grace of God than is Nifong, but Nifong still needs to confess what he has done, for his actions have been evil, and the damage has been horrific.

My friends, i.e Joan Foster and others, know about my next statement: We are undergoing a family crisis that requires a huge amount of grace. I know what it means to have to reach down deep in order to forgive. But those who seek grace cannot come to the table with hands that are full; those hands must be empty.

Anonymous said...

1. Bill Anderson, you do not know the meaning of the word Christian: the mean spirited and racist statements on this blog about the city of Durham, the accuser and her family and Nifong belie anything gracious or Christian. For people like you to try quoting the bible is proof of the old saying that the Devil will quote scripture for his own purpose

2.You say that you are undergoing a family crisis--I can guess what it is and it involves your black adoptive kids and they have finally read some of the racist things you have said and are appalled, I bet. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy.

3.nifong giving in today just shows he is human and he is trying to speed up the inevitable disgrace that he has coming for taking a black woman's word againist rich whites. this is proof that while you cannot buy an election in Durham county as the Duke 3 tried to do, but you CAN buy your way out of a rape case.

Anonymous said...


What a gracious post, thanks for displaying its true meaning in this blessed season.

I'm sure you meant well, even if don't know any better.