Reading: Proverbs 26:11

As a dog returns to its vomit,
so fools repeat their folly.


WASHINGTON, D.C. July 14, 1865: Exhausted by the close of the Civil War, President Lincoln affixed his signature to government documents before taking in an evening of entertainment at Ford’s Theater.

Unknown to all, he had just performed his last official act. Within hours, Lincoln was fatally wounded by gunshot. At the cessation of North/South hostilities, just five days before, the army was relieved of its guardianship of the presidency. Lincoln sat in Ford’s theater without protection. Sixteen years later James Garfield was assassinated by gunshot. Two presidents had fallen, and still no steps were taken to offer protection. Twenty years later (1901), President McKinley became the third president to die at the hands of an assassin.

If only we could learn our lessons with one fall. Unfortunately, we often have to hit the bottom repeatedly before we reach up. Neglected lessons have a recurrent tendency. Get off that merry-go-round and run to higher ground. Repentance marks a new beginning.

History is sprinkled with irony, and few so sobering as this: That last document that Lincoln signed before leaving for the theater was a document creating a new federal agency … the Secret Service.


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