“It is a risky enterprise to have to write of virtue”. Thus writes Thomas Keneally in his book Schindler’s List, made famous by Steven Spielberg’s movie of the same name. “He was Oskar Schindler”, says the book’s cover. “His name is in the Avenue of the Righteous People in Jerusalem. He ran a concentration camp. … A German-Catholic industrialist who, through daring, cunning and the use of his own great wealth, single-handedly saved more Jews at greater risk than any other person in World War II.”
He was a philanderer, a manipulator, and spendthrift. He depleted his personal fortune several times over and schmoozed his way up the Nazi hierarchy. Yet hundreds of Jews survived due to his efforts, and he openly wept that he could not save more.
It is truly a risky enterprise to write of virtue.
Scripture tells us that King David was a man after God’s own heart. Like Schindler, David was a manipulator and a liar. He was a philanderer and (worse than Schindler) a murderer. God himself called him a bloody man and would not permit him to build the temple. Many have puzzled over how such a one could be hailed as great. Yet God decreed that among David’s descendants would arise the Messiah.
It is a risky enterprise to write of virtue because God counts such men as David among the virtuous.
God sees not as men see, for God looks on the heart, and I am confident as in the case of Schindler and in the case of David that God saw things you and I would fail to see. God winked at David’s mistakes because his heart was right.
We find it right to write of virtue, for we cannot judge as God judges.