My Advice to John Edwards

The image at the right says it all about how many Americans feel about John Edwards today.

Many wanted him to pay for his transgressions, but as the analysts have said, there’s a big difference between being a criminal and having some major shortcomings in life.

Dear reader: Are you perfect? None of us is.

I was a political fan of John Edwards for many years. I believed he represented a new generation, of sorts, and a new way of thinking. I voted for him in his first presidential campaign, and although I wasn’t exactly fired up about John Kerry as a presidential candidate, I did vote for the Kerry-Edwards ticket.

Edwards now falls into the category of those who many Americans love to hate: Bernie Madoff, Casey Anthony, O.J. Simpson (who’s still searching for his wife’s killer), Octomom and many others.

Even though Edwards was essentially acquitted of the criminal acts of which he was accused, he still loses. He has to get up each morning and look at himself in the mirror, his family life is desecrated and his love of politics is forever out of reach.

As he left the courtroom last week, Edwards said he believed God is not finished with him. That’s true enough. He’s a brilliant man (despite making bad decisions), the second half of his life is yet in front of him and he’s a passionate man (though his passions may have been misdirected for a season.)

I’m hopeful for John Edwards. I hope he can re-frame his life into something good. In the meantime, I’d suggest:

  • Plant a garden and watch it grow, and listen to the spirit that speaks inside you.
  • Read the Bible, especially the stories of the great men who fell, yet God used them in miraculous ways, and listen to the spirit that speaks inside of you.
  • Go off, and be alone (there probably aren’t many friends to socialize with right now anyway) and listen to the spirit that speaks inside of you.
  • Start running each morning, and as you watch the sunrise each day, listen to the spirit that speaks inside of you.
  • Throw darts at the map, South American, Africa and Asia come to mind, go to the places your darts find, see how the people live, get a worldview and become a missionary in those places and listen to the spirit that speaks inside of you.
  • Pray for your kids daily, never give up on them loving you again, and listen to the spirit that speaks inside of you.
  • Take a long break from the news. People are going to say bad things about you for a long time, but what they say really doesn’t matter and it doesn’t define who you are and what you can reframe yourself to be, and listen to the spirit inside of you.
  • There will forever be consequences. Some of which you’ll live with a lifetime. Know that God’s not punishing you. It’s just life here on earth. And listen to the spirit that speaks inside of you.
  • Don’t ask for God’s forgiveness on a daily basis. If you’ve asked, and really meant it, He’s already done it. It’s over. And listen to the spirit that speaks inside of you.

As for the New Yorker headline above, crumple it up, set fire to it and watch it burn.

I’m pulling for you, John. We all make mistakes.

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