"The Most Trusted Man in Georgia." That is the way a radio commercial portrays Clark Howard, Atlanta talk show host and consumer advocate.
Clark's mission is to help folks "save more, spend less, and avoid getting ripped off." Many people in this region and around the country heed his advice and share it with others. It is fairly common to hear someone start a conversation with, "Clark Howard says..."
A link on the Clark Howard website is to "Clark Stinks" where everyone is invited to offer criticism of his attitude or advice. A regular feature of his daily radio program is to read some of those comments. Often he says that he was wrong either in what he said or how he said it. It is not uncommon to hear him acknowledge that he was wrong in judgment about a product or service. Clark Howard's mistakes do not result in serious consequences and do not have a life changing effect.
It has been said that every person has feet of clay. All of us make mistakes. Some mistakes are more serious than others. Some are more public than others and have a more widespread impact.
I have had friends and colleagues who have been accused of some terrible things. Sometimes they were guilty. Sometimes not. Either way God's grace is theirs. Years ago one of my teachers reminded me and all of his students that "anything anyone can do, I can do." It was Brian Bailey's way of helping us to see that all of us are sinners in need of God's grace.
Recently I saw one of our retired United Methodist clergy, Rev. Claude Smithmier. In conversation with him I jokingly made a critical comment. Claude reached into his pocket and with a slight smile he handed me a polished rock. It was his gentle way of saying, "He who is without sin let him cast the first stone."
Philip Bliss penned the words of the hymn, "Hallelujah! What a Savior." The following words of the first verse speak loudly to me:
Man of Sorrows!
What a name
For the Son of God, who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!
I am one of those "ruined sinners." And so are you. We are constantly being reclaimed. We are what someone has called C.U.C--Christians Under Construction. People of faith are forever seeking forgiveness and claiming God's redemptive love and grace.
When we sing, "Lord, I want to be a Christian in my heart," we understand that what is felt internally must be expressed externally. Our actions must be Christ-like. When they are not, then our only hope is to confess our sins and trust God to forgive us and restore us to a right relationship with God and with other human beings. And to repair the damage that we have caused. I believe God is capable of doing all of that. Hallelujah! What a Savior!
[Taken with permission from "Monday Morning in North Georgia," Feb. 28, 2011. North Georgia Conference of the United Methodist Church.]