In a recent biography of George H.W. Bush, author Jon Meachum covers Bush's time as the Republican Party National Chair, an office he held under Richard Nixon and through the Watergate investigation. During a cabinet meeting August 6, 1974 cabinet meeting, Nixon came in late. "Nixon looked terrible," Meachum noted. The investigation was taking its toll, and some of his cabinet, including Bush and new Vice-President Gerald Ford had stated in absolute terms of Nixon's innocence which had just been erased by the findings of tapes and information on those tapes.
Meachum notes that Nixon came into the room proceeded to start the meeting by saying, "I would like to discuss the most important issue confronting the nation, and confronting us internationally too - inflation." The room was silent. Bush noted it was visibly awkward. Finally, VP Ford spoke, "Mr. President, with your indulgence, I have something to say." After being told to speak by Nixon, Ford made some introductory remarks about Nixon and his family, and then said, "I wish to emphasize that had I known what has been disclosed in reference to Watergate in the last twenty-four hours, I would have not made a number of the statements I made either as Minority Leader or Vice-President... I will have no further comment on the issue because I'm a party in interest. I'm sure there will be impeachment in the House. I can't predict the Senate outcome."
Speaking the truth to the president of the United States. You can say what you like about this time in our history, but what Ford did took true courage. He basically told the president to quit acting like president and realize what you are facing. He basically said, "Your time here appears to be over."
True courage, speaking the truth to a person's face, in respect and perhaps out of love (in this case, perhaps love of country), even if it is something that person doesn't want to hear. Scripture has such stories too. One of my favorite is Nathan confronting David after his adultery with Bathsheba which led to a baby which led to the murder of Bathsheba's husband and the eventual death of the baby. Nathan tells a story of a wealthy man who takes the lamb of a poor man to serve to a guest, saying that the poor man loved the lamb as one of his own among his family. David rose in anger, "As the Lord lives, the man who has done this deserves to die, and he shall restore the lamb fourfold, because he did this thing, and because he had no pity!"
Nathan then says to David, "You are the man!" Nathan then speaks to David sternly stating all God has done for David, Israel, and David's punishment. David looks at Nathan and says, "I have sinned against the Lord." Nathan responds by saying, "The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die." (2 Samuel 12)
As brothers in Christ, do we have the ability to speak the truth to one another? There is a difference between saying what you think or believe, but speaking the truth, in Christ's love, to a brother in Christ? Pray that we do have that ability to speak boldly, proclaiming Christ's truth and love.
Hope Men's Ministry