By Foster Shannon
“Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. And all the king’s horses and all the king’s men could not put Humpty together again.”
“How are the mighty fallen in the midst of the battle!” (II Samuel 1:25)
We were stunned when we heard of the extended affair involving Mrs. Paula Broadwell and General David H. Petraeus. He had served in the United States Army for thirty-seven years. A West Point graduate, he had risen rapidly in the ranks. He was respected for turning around the war in Iraq and stabilizing the conflict in Afghanistan. He was appointed head of the CIA, and then retired from the Army in September 2011. At a stirring retirement ceremony, Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said: “You now stand among the giants not just in our time but of all time, joining the likes of Grant and Pershing and Marshall and Eisenhower as one of the great battle captains of American history.”
How did all of this happen? He broke the marriage vows he had taken, and became unfaithful to his wife deceiving friends and lying to his wife. He was thought of as almost the perfect man. Now that statue has fallen! We do not want to condemn him, but it is right for us to inquire: what can we learn?
The seventh commandment, You shall not commit adultery (Exodus 20:14) has been with us for more than three thousand years. The point, that I would like to make here, is not that this is an easy commandment to keep, but that it is worth keeping, even in an age where many may laugh at it. Infidelity is always accompanied by lying and deception. Broken families not only bring great hurt to the former husband and wife, but to the children, the parents, the extended family and the friends. The scriptures say, “The way of the transgressor is hard.” Jesus said, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 10:28,29) It isn’t that God’s way is without difficulty. It is that it is the best way, and that it brings blessing and rejoicing instead of regret. The Bible teaches forgiveness on God’s part, if it is sought.
Let us pray that the General will turn to his Savior for healing, forgiveness, and new life.
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After receiving his degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Political Science,
Foster Shannon went on to obtain a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary and a
Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary with emphasis on church growth.
He is currently Interim Pastor of True Light Presbyterian Church in Alhambra, CA. Foster
started his book ministry over 30 years ago. He publishes and distributes Christian Books
online on The Green Leaf Press, Inc. website: www.gogreenleaf.com. He roots for the CAL
Bears and LA Lakers and swims and bicycles weekly.