Friday, June 26, 2009

Our Greatest Legacy

Even though I live in south Georgia, I'm still a South Carolinian at heart.

I'm also a political and religious conservative, who likes to support conservative, God-fearing candidates for political office.

Therefore, I took great interest in the story that was dominating the news while I was in SC earlier this week about South Carolina's ultra-conservative governor, Mark Sanford, who had disappeared and left the state to operate on "auto pilot." He was supposed to be hiking the Appalachian Trail, but was actually on a secret rendevouz in Argentina. My heart was heavy when I learned that he was involved in an adulterous relationship, and had abused the trust of not only his wife and children, but his friends and supporters throughout the state. His selfish and sinful behavior let down the citizens of SC, hurt the cause of Christ, ended a promising political career, and may have destroyed his marriage.

I had respected Mark Sanford, and like a multitude of others across the state, and even the nation, I was shocked and disappointed to hear of his double life. It is amazing how long and arduous the climb is to the top, and how quickly a man can tumble to the bottom. I was also saddened to see another conservative Republican be disgraced for his inability to confine himself to the affections of his wife. Not that the alternative party is any more righteous -- they just never claimed to be.

Although disheartened by this unexpected turn of events, I did admire Gov. Sanford's humility and candor, which were portrayed in his news conference. He obviously knows right from wrong; he admits that he has sinned by breaking God's absolute moral law; and he even understands that he must pay the consequences for his sin. However, he has probably under-estimated how high that price tag might be. As our pastor used to say, "Sin always takes you farther than you want to go, keeps you longer than you want to stay, and costs you more than you want to pay."

Unfortunately, sin does not just affect the one who chooses to go astray, but it also hurts the family and friends, who must also pay the consequences for a sin they did not commit. My heart aches for Sanford's wife, Jenny, and their four sons, who have all been caught in the sticky web he spun, and are now being thrust into the harsh spotlight because of his indiscretion. Jenny is a strong, spunky, capable woman with a quick wit, who will no doubt weather the storm, but I believe it will be tough for the Sanford's four boys.

In any tragedy there is always a bright spot. After discovering this official statement, issued by SC First Lady, Jenny Sanford, I felt her response was a beacon of light in the darkness surrounding this affair. Her strength of character, unwavering faith, unconditional love, and dedication to her family were an inspiration to me. I have printed her statement below, and trust that you will be blessed, as I was, by reading her words.

"I would like to start by saying I love my husband and I believe I have put forth every effort possible to be the best wife I can be during our almost twenty years of marriage. As well, for the last fifteen years my husband has been fully engaged in public service to the citizens and taxpayers of this state and I have faithfully supported him in those efforts to the best of my ability. I have been and remain proud of his accomplishments and his service to this state.

I personally believe that the greatest legacy I will leave behind in this world is not the job I held on Wall Street, or the campaigns I managed for Mark, or the work I have done as First Lady or even the philanthropic activities in which I have been routinely engaged. Instead, the greatest legacy I will leave in this world is the character of the children I, or we, leave behind. It is for that reason that I deeply regret the recent actions of my husband Mark, and their potential damage to our children.

I believe wholeheartedly in the sanctity, dignity and importance of the institution of marriage. I believe that has been consistently reflected in my actions. When I found out about my husband's infidelity I worked immediately to first seek reconciliation through forgiveness, and then to work diligently to repair our marriage. We reached a point where I felt it was important to look my sons in the eyes and maintain my dignity, self-respect, and my basic sense of right and wrong. I therefore asked my husband to leave two weeks ago.

This trial separation was agreed to with the goal of ultimately strengthening our marriage. During this short separation it was agreed that Mark would not contact us. I kept this separation quiet out of respect of his public office and reputation, and in hopes of keeping our children from just this type of public exposure. Because of this separation, I did not know where he was in the past week.

I believe enduring love is primarily a commitment and an act of will, and for a marriage to be successful, that commitment must be reciprocal. I believe Mark has earned a chance to resurrect our marriage.

Psalm 127 states that sons are a gift from the Lord and children a reward from Him. I will continue to pour my energy into raising our sons to be honorable young men. I remain willing to forgive Mark completely for his indiscretions and to welcome him back, in time, if he continues to work toward reconciliation with a true spirit of humility and repentance.

This is a very painful time for us and I would humbly request now that members of the media respect the privacy of my boys and me as we struggle together to continue on with our lives and as I seek the wisdom of Solomon, the strength and patience
of Job and the grace of God in helping to heal my family."

What a gracious testimony she presents to grieving South Carolinians, disappointed Christians, and hurting women everywhere.

"A capable, intelligent, and virtuous woman -- who is he who can find her? She is far more precious than jewels and her value is far above rubies or pearls. The heart of her husband trusts in her confidently and relies on and believes in her securely, so that he has no lack of [honest] gain or need of [dishonest] spoil. She comforts, encourages, and does him only good as long as there is life within her." -- Proverbs 31:10-12, Amplified version.


Noel said...

this story has saddened me also. It's a reminder that our leaders and politicians are people too who desperately need prayer - the liberals for a change of heart and the conservative leaders for strength and courage. Wether or not his career lasts doesn't matter to me, I just hope his family can heal.

busymomof10 said...

I agree Noel! Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts!

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