Posted by: Rex Boyles | September 3, 2007

In memory of Cline Paden, a friend to this sinner

“Today is Labor Day … so we are going to labor.” I heard Cline Paden say that – for the first time – when I was 21 years old and beginning my second term in the Sunset School of Preaching (September, 1973). Labor Day was defined for me a day of labor from that day on. So, today, I want to honor the memory of my brother, my teacher, my mentor, my father, and my friend, Cline Paden. He was all of these to me and more; “but he was never more a friend to me than when I needed him most and deserved it the least. He was a friend to me like a father becomes a friend to a son. Accepting, forgiving, comforting so that I would not be overcome by overmuch sorrow. While others passed by on the other side, Cline, like the good Samaritan, saw me broken and bruised by my own sin, had compassion on me, bound up my wounds and gave me a safe place to rest and to heal in his life and in his heart. While others questioned motives, Cline, like the prodigal’s father, came to find me … hugged me, kissed me, and celebrated my return home. While others stood ready to condemn, Cline, like his Savior and mine, refused to condemn … refused to condemn the one that was caught in the act, and he stood with me before my accusers. I will love Cline Paden and cherish his memory for the rest of my life. But if we do seriously want to honor his memory … let us be to others the friend that he was to us”, (excerpts from Cline’s funeral, May 30, 2007). 

P.S. I thank God for Cline Paden, who was a friend to this sinner. He found the grace to override the disgust he must have felt for what I had done and to forgive me … to comfort me … to reaffirm his love for me. I love Cline and miss him. (I also thank God too for his dear wife, Jo. She always makes me feel acceptable and loved. Please take the time to remind her that you love and appreciate her for all of her years as Cline’s “help-meet”.)

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