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When Quotes Come Into Question

This is for my fellow bloggers and writers: Can I ask you an honest question?

Do you ever wish you go back and “undo” a quote?

I am feeling hesitant in my writing, wondering if the risk is worth it. Words matter, and when I look back on what I have said or written I can’t help but question some of the quotes that I’ve used–some of them many years ago. What shoud you do when you quote a famous person and your later perception of them changes?

They are not who you thought they were.

The integrity of their statement is in question–because of blatant rebellion or deception revealed, a conviction once held dear has waned into apathy, or there is an all out rejection of the Gospel of Christ.

I’m sobered and saddened by the revelation of yet another prominent Christian leader exposed for moral failure. Not just once, but solid evidence that for years he preached truth while living a lie.

While I am quite aware that we all fall short of God’s holiness, it is the agony of the cross that reminds me of the cost.

I’ve quoted many religious leaders along the way, including my pastor/husband. I am always cautious when quoting someone that I don’t know or trust, but more than once that trust has been broken. (Not by my beloved!)

Do I purge the page? Find those quotes and delete them? Should I go so far as to lay aside any temptation to quote a person and only quote the words of the Bible? As I lean into that idea, I go to the Source, asking God to give me wisdom–and to give me hope.

Right in the middle of my prayer God reminded me of the patriarchs in the Old Testament and apostles in the New Testament who fell as well. They disobeyed God, followed after idols, committed adultery, denied knowing Him and even committed murder.

How could they? How could we?

“My little children, I am writing you these things so that you may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ the righteous one. He himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for those of the whole world.” 1 John 2:1-2

He carried the weight of it all up Calvary’s hill. A burden so great, so underserved, and so born out of love.

The agony of the fallen pales in comparison to the agony of the cross.

I see him now, that fallen apostle. Unable to stand in His presence, prostrate before the King of Kings.

Eyes wide open he is fully known. The accolades and the failures blending together in sea of red. Washed by the blood of The One who sacrificed Himself to atone

for

every

single

act

of

disobedience.

And I am reminded that I too, was bought with a price. My sin just as costly, and though my eyes see the guilt, He sees through the blood of His sacrifice. A fallen world in need of grace. No one immune–sinful hearts in need of the forgiveness only He could give.


O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let that grace now like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.

Hymn, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, circa 1758

We can’t go back. Undoing what’s been done is only possible through the supernatural power of God’s Holy Spirit. I am reminded that God has and will continue to use fallen, frail people to accomplish His purposes. And His legacy is the only one that matters.

“Seek the Lord while He may be found; call to Him while he is near. Let the wicked one abandon his way, and the sinful one his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, so He may have compassion on him, and to our God, for He will freely forgive.” Isaiah 55:6-7

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
and your ways are not my ways.”
This is the Lord’s declaration.
“For as heaven is higher than earth,
so my ways are higher than your ways,
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
For just as rain and snow fall from heaven
and do not return there
without saturating the earth
and making it germinate and sprout,
and providing seed to sow
and food to eat,
so my word that comes from my mouth
will not return to me empty,
but it will accomplish what I please
and will prosper in what I send it to do.” Isaiah 55:8-11

7 replies »

  1. Really outstanding post Vickie. It makes me think of that scripture, “you who think you stand, take heed lest you fall.” I have seen and heard pastors lambast other Christians without mercy from their pulpit, only to fall into the same trap another fell into. Satan is one very wily enemy! Then, sadly, they too were “judged” by the same measuring rod they used on others. As Christians, we are to follow hard after holiness, yes absolutely, but we are also to walk in love. Jesus hung out with some pretty scruffy characters (and I include myself with that bunch!) How thank-full I am for His cross… my only hope!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Like you Vickie, I am devastated when Christian leaders fail and fall. When they are exposed, the world has a ‘heyday’. However the Word remains unchanged and overcomes the world. Another great hymn has come to my mind, “There’s power in the blood….in the precious blood of the Lamb.” I do not believe we have to retract or defend the words of those who fall. God’s Word is powerful and true, always. Thank you for this honest and beautiful message.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. This is an awesome article. Yes! We get disappointed when those we trusted with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, misuse their positions and sin is uncovered. But, you’re right that the Lord has used sinful men and women throughout history, in spite of ourselves!

    Liked by 1 person

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