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Empty Rocker on Old House Porch, Dry Creek, LA

The 5 Million Dollar Lie

combine with Joseph’s brothers and their 20 year lie

Some are saying it cost him $10 million dollars in endorsements.

The lower estimate is that Ryan Lochte’s string of lies cost him at least $5 million in future earnings and endorsements.

$5 million or $10 million lost.  That’s a pile of regret.

And it all goes back to a drunken night of stupidity followed by lies to coverup to tepid apologies.

I don’t know where the episode of Lochte and his three American swimmers will end.

Sadly, it occurred because of arrogance and lying.

And Ryan Lochte can attest to what it has cost him.

This escapade reminded me of this story below from Stories from the Creekbank.

It’s a story about the difference between being sorry for what’ve you done vs. being sorry that you got caught.

Stories from the Creekbank, Cover
Stories from the Creekbank is the first book by Curt Iles

Godly Sorrow Brings True Repentance

When I arrived, an eleven-year-old camper named Luke stood by the camp golf cart. I’d been summoned from the cafeteria after being told, “A camper had driven the golf cart into the side of the Tabernacle.”

 

Walking over I expected to find glass and broken wood everywhere, but instead there was a little scratch on the cart and a single tile broken on the Tabernacle wall. The boys who had reported the crime all pointed at Luke who stood there looking at me defiantly.

As quickly as I could, I scattered the onlookers and kept only the few eyewitnesses. All manner of accusations and counter-suits began flying around as to who had hatched the plot, pushed the cart, and actually been behind the wheel during the dirty deed. I finally hushed the boys down. At this point, I thought the best justice would have been to have taken off my belt and wore all of them out. But I wisely decided against that course of action.

As I cross-examined the participants, the truth began to emerge in a quilted patchwork of lies and half-truths liberally mixed with the actual truth. It was evident Luke had been the captain of the ship when the golf cart took off. Apparently, he had put it in reverse and backed up before turning the knob to forward and running into the Tabernacle wall. When confronted with this, Luke stood up to me and vehemently defended himself: “I wasn’t even near here.” Then, “It was another boy who looked like me.” I looked at camp director, Billy Ray Franks, and wearily shook my head. This was going to be a tough nut to crack.

But finally Luke began to soften. “Well, I was on the golf cart, but I didn’t mean to hit the wall.” And finally, the truth, and nothing but the truth, came out. “Yes sir, I was driving the cart. I took off backwards, and then sped forward before hitting the wall.”

Then I asked the question I’d been waiting to spring, “Luke are you sorry you did this, or just sorry you got caught?”

He pondered my question for a moment before quietly answering, “I’m sorry I did it. It was wrong of me to be on the cart in the first place.”

 

…And my mind went back to one of my favorite camp stories.

The late sixties and seventies were an interesting time in summer camps. The youthful rebellion of the sixties had finally hit rural Louisiana and the battle had begun. All authority seemed to be in question—even at camp. Redneck boys, who had two years earlier sported flat tops, now had shoulder-length hair and muttonchop sideburns. Girls tried to show their rebellion with miniskirts that were shorter than they needed to be.

The generation of this time had to test every limit. One of the ways camp authority was tested was with boys trying to slip out of the cabin at night. Routinely boys would slip out a window of the old dorms and roam around. The night watchman at this time, Walter Mahaffey, would tell me all kinds of tales about chasing boys in the darkness. I remember a camper from Shreveport who came into breakfast with a crease mark across his forehead. He related how he had been out when the night watchman hollered at him. As he ran, he encountered a clothesline that was sagging just a little (or maybe he was a little too tall.) The result was the mark he had.

Now here is my story from 1970: Two local teens at camp were caught outside by the night watchman. The next day the camp director, a pastor, gave them this option—they were to be sent home unless they would apologize to the entire camp for their misdeed.

I’m sure the guys contemplated this option. They sure wanted to stay at camp. But the idea of getting up in front of all of their friends and two hundred female admirers to apologize was a bitter pill to swallow. But nevertheless they agreed.

That night at the service there was a huge crowd. (The Tabernacle and gym were not divided at this time.) Both boys were introduced by the camp director, and then they nervously came to the microphone. After coughing, the first boy said, “I’m very sorry I was outside in the dark last night. It was wrong and I want to ask you to forgive me.”

The auditorium exploded into hand clapping mixed with cries of “You’re forgiven!”

The pastors and youth leaders in the audience nodded their heads in approval and the smiling camp director put an arm around boy #1’s shoulder.

Now it was the turn of boy #2. He stepped up much more confidently. I thought to myself, “Just repeat what he said and you’ll be fine.” But no, he had worked out his own speech and here it is:

“Well, I’m sorry I was out last night. But most of all, I’m sorry I got caught.”

There was an eerie silence in the Tabernacle. No one knew what to say or do. In my fourteen-year-old mind, I wondered, was that an apology or wasn’t it?” But there was no doubt what it was in the mind of the now frowning camp director. He roughly grabbed boy #2 by the arm and unceremoniously led him from the stage. As they went out the side door, he was giving the boy an earful.

And that story of nearly thirty years ago was my first introduction to the difference between Godly repentance and worldly sorrow. You see, true repentance from God is sorry for the sin. A repentant person wants to change directions, make amends, and do right—regardless of whether they got caught or the waiting consequences.

However, worldly sorrow simply is sad it got caught. It’s already thinking, “Next time I’ll be more careful or crafty.” The sorrow of the world doesn’t change a person.

But I’m so thankful Godly sorrow does change a person. Repentance simply means to change directions from the path we were on. It is a 180-degree variation.

The Dry Creek Tabernacle
The Dry Creek Tabernacle

And as I stood outside the Tabernacle with Luke, I was ready to see if he meant business. “Luke, there are three things you must do now to show you are truly sorry. First of all, I want you to apologize to Bro. Reggie Hanberry for bothering his golf cart. Secondly, you’ll owe ten dollars for the damage done. Finally, you’ll have to go with me now and sweep the Tabernacle.

Luke who fifteen minutes earlier was ready to fight a buzz saw, meekly agreed to the consequences. And as he, Billy Ray, and I swept the Tabernacle, I’ve never seen anyone do a better job of sweeping under every pew and in every corner.

For Godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death. (II Corinthians 7:10)

KeyCreekbankPostcard Best Shot 

About Curt Iles

I write to have influence and impact through well-told stories of my Louisiana and African sojourn.

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