Washington Scandal: 1829

Acts 9:26-27

Be an encourager by extending friendship.

When Andrew Jackson was president, a huge kerfuffle arose when Peggy Eaton, the wife of Jackson’s Secretary of War, was accused of some long-ago (and unverifiable) moral failing. Much of Washington, D.C. society lined up to ostracize this woman, while others, notably the people closest to the president, lined up to defend her. Some of the husbands who would have gone along with the president’s wishes found themselves stuck between the claims of bosses and wives.

I don’t pretend to know which, if any, of the accusations against Peggy Eaton were well founded. Did she actually have a relationship with Mr. Eaton before her first husband–a scoundrel by all accounts–died? I don’t know.

However, I’d like to think that I could overlook the possibilities and take her or anyone for what they are today–or even what they might be tomorrow. Sometimes it is easier to shun people, to exclude them for whatever reason, but it is better by far to forget those reasons and be a friend.

Barnabas didn’t know what Paul would become. He couldn’t even be 100% certain that Paul was genuinely a believer. Still Barnabas–that son of encouragement–stuck out his neck as a friend. In doing that he changed the world.

  • Think of a time when someone has encouraged you by the simple act of friendship. How did it affect you?
  • What barriers prevent you from showing yourself friendly? What can you do to remove them?
  • Ask God to give you opportunities to show encouragement through friendship and thus connect people to each other and to Christ.