News and Bits: Update on Legacy’s Board Member, Does Anyone Care About History?, and Nelson Mandela

President Franklin Delano Roosevelt delivers “Day of Infamy” speech, 8 Dec 1941

COG Update

I received an email that Herb Vierra, one of the board members of Legacy Foundation in Thailand (that oversees Legacy Institute, the school) has been released from the hospital.  He was admitted with a bad case of pneumonia.  He is not completely out of the woods yet, so continued prayers for him would be appreciated.

Losing Our History?

Yesterday, December 7, 1941–a date which will live in infamy–the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.

The United States was at peace with that Nation and, at the solicitation of Japan, was still in conversation with its Government and its Emperor looking toward the maintenance of peace in the Pacific. Indeed, one hour after Japanese air squadrons had commenced bombing in the American Island of Oahu, the Japanese Ambassador to the United States and his colleague delivered to our Secretary of State a formal reply to a recent American message. And while this reply stated that it seemed useless to continue the existing diplomatic negotiations, it contained no threat or hint of war or of armed attack….

~, “Transcript of Joint Address to Congress Leading to a Declaration of War Against Japan (1941)

It seems that we Americans are very absent-minded and tend to forget history very easily.  Of course, the problem with forgetting history is that we also forget the lessons we should learn from it.  It also is a true-ism that it is hard to know where you are going when you don’t even know where you have come from.  Both of those reasons are why the re-writing of history by so many is appalling.

Yet, when I scanned Yahoo! News this morning, I saw one reference to Pearl Harbor.  Even then, I had to specifically click on “U.S.” to see even that much.

I think there is something telling when the news carries more stories about Hiroshima and Nagasaki than about Pearl Harbor, which was the event that propelled us into war to begin with.  Have we truly become so self-loathing as a nation?

A lot of the news is about Nelson Mandela passing away, of course.  I cannot say that is what is crowding out news about Pearl Harbor Day, however, when the third item on the list is a Dear Abby entry about a “girl’s excessive weight”.


Nelson Mandela

Of course, the death of any leader is worthwhile news, and especially one that has impacted so many.  In many ways, Mandela was an unlikely leader.  Not only was he jailed, but he gained some notoriety just before his arrest for beginning to advocate violence in pursuit of their cause.  So, at one end of history you could say he was no Martin Luther King, Jr.

Having said that, Mandela’s ending was quite extraordinary and very much in line with MLK advocated.  His most redeeming virtue, and I believe the source of his strength, was his willingness to forgive in spite of persecution.  Many would have chosen instead to become bitter in heart and spirit, but Mandela instead chose to forgive.

This is the type of forgiveness that Jesus spoke of, isn’t it?  He said to forgiven while praying.  He didn’t say to ask forgiveness only if the offender repented.  Who are we to judge repentance, anyhow?

The Bible talks about only one unpardonable (unforgivable) sin, and that is the rejection of the work of the Holy Spirit.  Once the Holy Spirit opens one’s mind, there is no turning back.  However, the vast majority of humankind has never had this happen yet.

30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:

Ac 17:30

Some people have made much of “winked at” above, but the simple answer is usually the right answer.  God has overlooked the sins of the ignorant, and implied in that statement is that He will not overlook the sins of the willful, spiteful and disobedient.  Most of mankind is ignorant, and that is because calling them now would lead to catastrophe.  We must trust God to call everyone at the right time and in the right moment, and we must further trust that people will respond at the right time and in the right moment.


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  1. I have been very disappointed, as well, at how many people within the COG community have ignored repentance and ignored the forgiveness, instead of bitterness, that Nelson Mandela’s last half (or more) of his life showed by who he was and what he did.

    None of us have been through what Nelson Mandela went through, so to condemn (the explicit instruction in Matthew 7 that we as followers of Jesus Christ are warned against) him is more of a testimony against us and our converting process than a testimony against this man.

    I have often thought that the servers, contributors, change people in humanity, once given the opportunity to understand God’s way and having the influence of Satan removed, will outshine all of us whom God has called now in short order (as opposed to our laborious and tooth-and-nail, at times, struggles to be like God and Jesus Christ in who we are, how we thing, and what we do) and will leave our examples in the dust.

    There’s an order, a reason, a time, defined by God, perfected by Jesus Christ, for each of us to become a functioning and contributing member of the family of God. The process is unique, different, and tailored to each human’s needs. I know and believe this based on God’s word, based on His work in my life (what I didn’t know, for example, 20 years ago, I’m learning in real time today…it isn’t easy and when I look back, I am aware of how ignorant and how arrogant and how ungrateful, in many ways, I was toward God and Jesus Christ and their blessings upon me IN SPITE OF where I was).

    How can any of us possibly know what is in the heart of another human being? We discern, using God’s spirit, based on what we see and hear, based on God’s words. Those things are clear, especially within those among us who claim to have God’s calling, His spirit, and who claim to be a part of the body of Jesus Christ.

    But, beyond that, we don’t even always know our own hearts, so we always have to be aware of our own deficits in regard to ourselves and remember if we don’t know ourselves as well as we ought to (and want to), then we certainly don’t know anyone else (and their hearts) as much as we might thing we do.

    Jesus Christ and God the Father do. Let’s leave the heart work to Them. They’re infinitely more qualified…and merciful..than we are.

    • cogp-reply-slr wrote: “None of us have been through what Nelson Mandela went through, so to condemn (the explicit instruction in Matthew 7 that we as followers of Jesus Christ are warned against) him is more of a testimony against us and our converting process than a testimony against this man.”

      I have held off on replying to your comment, as I was, and still am, unsure what you are referring to in that statement. I wonder if it is coincidence or not that a certain web page is not accessible this morning (“410 Gone” is a particularly unusual error message).

      I am not ignorant that some latent racism exists among a few, even as it exists in society, but I think sometimes people need to be reminded we are all of “one blood”, all having descended from Adam and Eve and again through Noah. There just isn’t room in the Bible for some of the sillier notions that even the world’s form of Christianity decries, and we need to be reminded that lineages and genealogies should remind us of the undeserved favors of being born in the right time and place.

      I would certainly hope that we would as well be reminded that our repentance of past wrongs was a necessary condition for baptism and conversion. People can change, and we should applaud those efforts, whether they are in the truth or not. Some of those efforts, in fact, would put our own to shame in some ways. As well, I certainly would hope we would all apply the Philippians 4 principle and try to look for virtues wherever possible (as long as they are true, natch).

      In fact, Mandela’s life has yet another important lesson that already on the back burner of things to write about. On top of that lesson, though, his life is an example of hope, and shouldn’t that be our example as well?

  2. cogp-reply-slr, when you mention:
    I am aware of how ignorant and how arrogant and how ungrateful, in many ways, I was toward God and Jesus Christ and their blessings upon me IN SPITE OF where I was

    I’m not sure if it comes with age but the way I see it, where a person is spiritually now may not necessarily be the same place in 5 years time as an example (it could be any length of time) (Jas 4:13-15).

    The thing is, we only have “today” (Hebrews 3:15) to work with and how we interact with others.

  3. John and Norbert,

    With age and God’s spirit comes wisdom. Agreed. Perhaps it because I am Southerner that I eschew my heritage more vehemently. I give you both that.

    John, where I was coming from (and I know you’re not on FB now, so you wouldn’t see this) about Nelson Mandela was that so many things I’ve seen (and I won’t give this all away as I’m working on a post on The Quintessential Leader about this) were about a snapshot in time. Really? If God looked at our lives in terms of a snapshot in time only, where would you and I stand with Him. If He looked at David’s life, Abraham’s life, Paul’s life, Peter’s life, Jacob’s life, Moses’s life, Joshua’s life, anybody’s life we consider as a servant of God as just a snapshot, where, indeed, would they be?

    That’s my point. You, Norbert, and I are not the same people we were yesterday. Hopefully, we’ve grown into become more like Jesus Christ and less like each of us.

    That is the dynamic power of God’s spirit working in each of us to bring us more into sync with God’s character and Jesus Christ’s mind, the focus of seeking God’s kingdom and His righteousness.

    When we take snapshots of people at a particular point in time (and so many of the COGs do this), we limit them to a static place, denying the dynamic power of God, Jesus Christ, and their spirit. That was my point.

    If the only hope we have is to be the people we are (and that Nelson Mandela and every other human who has ever lived) right now, then we have no hope.