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A second chance

"A second chance" Continued...

Issue: "Reassessing the genome," Oct. 6, 2012

What are you thinking at this point? Great remorse. I knew it would hurt my witness for God, hurt my wife who had been so faithful and so loyal. The shame of it—my kids, they would face this. Suddenly you go from stellar career to common thief. I wanted to run away and hide, but my face was all over.

Amid that shame, what did you tell yourself? That Jesus died for every sin committed—past, present, future. There was no sin I could commit that Christ did not first cover it. Jesus has atoned for my sins.

Ending up with just two years of probation must have been a relief. My family and I were greatly blessed and greatly cared for in the midst of all of this. This has not been a comfortable time. It's not comfortable coming here to share this, because I still bear great shame for what I've done, but with all the regrets I have, I would not trade this experience. I have come to know my Savior in a very real and personal way. More than anything else, God has affected my heart toward those that I would be very hard-hearted toward.

Out of the public eye—I haven't found articles about you since 2006—what have you been doing? It's been seven years of God breaking me down and rebuilding me for His purposes. I've worked at the Gerard Health Foundation on three issues: pro-life, abstinence education, HIV AIDS prevention. I just returned from Zambia with 14 people, visiting an orphanage over there that has a remarkable model of how to provide for kids. (See "Saving Isaac," WORLD, Nov. 10, 2007.)

And you're a baby rescuer? We support a project that does neonatal resuscitation. As a part of my job I had to be trained in "Helping Babies Breathe," neonatal resuscitation—and I'm now a "master trainer." I travel the world teaching doctors, nurses, birth attendants, and midwives how to rescue babies who otherwise would be left to die at birth.

So when you look back on your trajectory? I am fearful for where I would be if I had kept on that trajectory of going up and up. I look back on the pain, and my sin, as God's gift. God gives us second chances, and I want to make the most of the second chance that He's given me. I want to do that in showing mercy and kindness to others who have not experienced that.

Q&A Bonus: Seven lessons

Claude Allen offers more conclusions from his experience

By Marvin Olasky

President Bush with Claude Allen in 2005
Associated Press/Photo by Ron Edmonds
President Bush with Claude Allen in 2005

Toward the end of my interview with Claude Allen, he offered seven lessons he had learned from the book of Jonah and the teaching of John Piper:

"The first is that God answers us in spite of our guilt. I was guilty in what I had done and yet God purposed to answer me when I needed Him.

"Secondly, God answers us in spite of His judgment. He was not going to let me just get away with not answering for what I had done.

"Third, God answers us and delivers us from impossible circumstances. My family has not lacked food or shelter or clothing or relationships or anything. We have been greatly blessed and greatly cared for in the midst of all of this.

"Fourth, God answers us in the nick of time. He saved me and has saved my family repeatedly for the past seven years in the very nick of time. Not my timing, but His timing and for His purposes.

"Fifth, God answers us in stages, not all of which are comfortable. This has not been a comfortable time. It's not comfortable coming here to Patrick Henry College to share this, because I still bear great shame for what I've done. I regret what I've done. And yet, with all the regrets that I have, I would not trade this experience for anything, because …

"Sixth, God answers us in order to win us to His undevoted loyalty and love. And that's been my greatest joy, that I have come to know my Savior in a very real and personal way and it has meant the life to me.

"Last, God answers us in our guilty distress to help us to become merciful like God is merciful. I think more than anything else, God has affected my heart towards those that I would be very hardhearted towards. One night I had a dream about a thief. I had been reading through Luke 23, but had never been able to identify with the thieves on the cross. I was not a thief, I was not a murderer, I was none of that.

"In 2006 I was suddenly changed because of the series of acts I had engaged in. Very quickly I could identify with those thieves on the cross. The next day a gifted counselor asked the pastor I was meeting with: Have you asked Claude to read the story of the thieves on the cross and see if he identifies with them? When I told my pastor about my dream, he just leapt out of his seat and said, 'It's amazing how God is speaking to you, even now.'

"Even in the midst of all this trouble, God was caring for me and carrying me through all of it."

Video

Watch Marvin Olasky's complete interview with Claude Allen:

Marvin Olasky
Marvin Olasky

Marvin is editor in chief of WORLD News Group and the author of more than 20 books, including The Tragedy of American Compassion. Follow Marvin on Twitter @MarvinOlasky.

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