Making it Right
by Tom Goodman
November 4, 2009
Few United States governors will ever be as immortalized in popular culture as the late Alabama populist, George C. Wallace. The rock band Lynyrd Skynrd praised him in Sweet Home Alabama ("In Birmingham they love the guv-nah!"). Then
Forrest Gump introduced new generations to his infamous stand at the school house door, attempting to block blacks from admission to the University of Alabama in 1963.
In fact, the Forrest Gump news footage is the only picture most people have of the Governor today -- a defiant obstructionist with jutted jaw and curled lip, shouting "Segregation forever!"
But there's another picture of Wallace. While campaigning for president in 1972, Wallace survived an assassination attempt; but the bullet fired into him left him paralyzed in the legs. His brush with death got him to thinking about
eternity, and he gave his life to Christ in 1983.
As the heavenly Ruler began to influence him, the earthly ruler began to change. One day, Wallace appeared unannounced at the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. This is the church Martin Luther King, Jr., was pastoring
when he launched the civil rights movement in the 50s. Mr. Wallace wheeled his way to the front of the church where three hundred black ministers were concluding a day-long conference.
A hush fell over the crowd.
"I never had hate in my heart for any person," he said, "but I regret my support of segregation and the pain it caused the black people of our state and nation." Amid cries of "amen" and "yes, Lord," he continued. "Segregation was wrong,
and I am sorry."
Two images of George Wallace. Hopefully the enduring image will not be the segregationist but the humbled, wheelchair-bound penitent, saying "I was wrong, and I am sorry."
Jesus said, "Settle matters quickly with your adversary. Do it while you are still with him on the way [to judgment]" (Matthew 5:25). The last and lasting image you want to bring before the throne of God is that of a humbled penitent
saying to the one you hurt, "I was wrong, and I am sorry."
This Sunday, we're going to learn some practical things about making amends to those we've harmed. It's the Ninth Step in our walk through the Twelve Steps to Victory. See you at 10!
Weblog: Check out my blog, "Get Anchored." Some things to look for...
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