October 2020, Vol. 39, No. 10

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You Sure Are Mean to Those That Love You

posted on October 1, 2020

[350 words]

Madge Wallace hated Harry Truman.

Well, it was said she didn’t care much for anyone in Independence, Missouri but she seemed to really have it in for Harry. To her, he was just a “filthy farm boy.” Early on, she might have a point.

Harry lost his family farm and failed at two different businesses until he finally found his place in politics. But that wasn’t good enough in the eyes of Madge. As a senator, she constantly criticized him, as vice president she scorned him. Even when he was elevated to the Presidency after Roosevelt’s death people close to her said: “It galls her to see him in the White House running the country.”

When Truman famously fired MacArthur she ranted: “Imagine a captain from the National Guard telling off a West Point general! Why didn’t he let General MacArthur run the Korean War in his own way?” When Truman ran against Governor Thomas Dewey in 1948, Madge stood firmly behind his opponent. “Why would Harry run against that nice Mr. Dewey?” she wondered aloud, “I know dozens of men better qualified to be in Mr. Truman’s place in the White House.”

That pretty bad criticism considering Harry was supporting Madge and she was living in his home since he came to Washington. Why would Harry do that for his biggest critic? Well, Madge Wallace was Harry Truman’s mother in law!

The people closest to us can sometimes be our biggest detractors. Those that should support us are the ones that can nip at our heels the most. It might be that way in our families but it should never be that way to our church family!

Jude says grumbling, and fault finding are ungodly ways (Jude 15-16). Paul tells us that we are to encourage and build up one another (1st Thessalonians 5:11) not tear each other down (Ephesians 4:29). Jesus warns us not to unfairly judge our brother (John 7:24). Scorn, ridicule, and backbiting are not to be the ways a Christian.

If you can’t say anything nice, the problem might be you!

Barry Haynes
Hope church of Christ
Hope, AR

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