Margaret “Peggy “ Shippen, was born on the 11th June 1760 and died the 24th of August 1804. She was a very beautiful woman, born into a prominent Philadelphia family, who were Loyalist. They loved the American Colonies but felt the British Empire had the right to rule the nation it had so heavily invested in. As an 18 year old she made the acquaintance of, and fell in love with, the military commander who was in charge of the city following the British withdrawal of 1778. Peggy married her dashing, brave commander on April 8th, 1779 at the family townhouse on Fourth Street, in Philadelphia.
Not long after they married the couple was deep in debt, frustrated with congressional politics and angry that Peggy’s husband had not been given the recognition they both felt he deserved. Peggy’s new husband began to have second thoughts about the American cause. His heart had been impacted by bitter disappointment and began to be turned by his love for his new wife. Her loyalty and constant influence towards the British cause soon changed his clear vision into muddy waters. As a result, he began to rethink his military career and his place in the strategy to defend America. Within a year of his marriage, in September of 1780, he decided to change sides. With his wife’s encouragement, and his military connections, he began to secretly conspire with the British army to do just that.
This brilliant and imaginative general was a personal friend with General George Washington. He was also a trusted advisor to the continental army’s commander. Because he was considered one of the rising stars of the American Revolution, he was able to convince Washington to let him command a strategic fort, which was a key to keeping the Colonies safe from any British invasion. What Washington did not know was that his friend had negotiated a deal with British commander Sir Henry Clinton, to turn the fort over to the British for 20,500 Pounds Sterling , the equivalent of over 1 million dollars in todays money.
Just before the British attack came, the plot Peggy and her husband had hatched was exposed. British Major John André was arrested in early September of 1780 while he was carrying documents concerning the planned surrender of the critical Continental Army base. Peggy and her husband immediately fled to New York City where they traveled together to London in 1781. Her husband was given a commission as a Brigadier General in the British army where he faught many battles against his former country. He eventually retired, opened a lucrative trade business and formed a trade agreement with Canada. In 1787 Peggy joined her husband in Saint John, New Brunswick, but problems with local businessmen eventually forced them to return to London. Peggy’s husband died in 1801, a broken, unknown man, filled with shame and grief over the betrayal of his native country. Peggy died in 1804 alone and poor in London, known only as the wife of an American traitor.
Who was Peggy’s husband? Benedict Arnold. This true life story is such a tragedy because Arnold was destined to become one of Americas greatest hero’s. His daring, brave and selfless leadership on the battlefield was unparalleled. His friendship with General George Washington would have opened doors for him to be a leading political figure in the new nation, perhaps even president of the United States one day. However, he gave it all way because he did not understand the value of loyalty or the power of trust. Instead of being remembered as one of the greatest American hero’s he will always be marked in history as one of Americas greatest traitors.
When Arnold used Washington’s loyalty against him, and betrayed the commanders unquestioned trust, it demonstrated more than you might imagine. It actually exposed the weakness of Arnold’s character and the instability of his true nature. Under pressure from his wife, and due to debt and bitter disappointment, these deadly flaws showed up and he caved in. The million dollar question I have to ask is, “what did it take for you to turn against those you once believed in”?
We all have our breaking point. It’s there lurking in the background, waiting for the right time, circumstance and place to rise to the surface. Unless we have our heart anchored in the truth, and strengthened by transparency, it will happen. Sooner or later we will be hurt, wounded or angry enough to do what we swore in another season we would NEVER do. It might ride in on the back of greed or disappointment, jealousy, hurt or anger. However it comes, unless we quickly recognize our vulnerability, and hold onto those who can walk with us though it, we will give in and in the end betray more than those around us. We will betray our own destiny!
I wonder, are you one who has turned your back on Bishop Callahan or Apostle Menard. Have you pulled away from any other leader or pastor in MMFI that your destiny was at one point tied to? If you have failed the loyalty test, and you now feel a division or a distance between you and that leader, it’s time to make a change. You know who I am talking about. It’s the person who once was more than a friend in your life, but now they are hardly even recognized or honored. Perhaps this is God’s prophetic wake up call for you to rebuild that connection. Remember, unity is the lifeblood of the Kingdom, and it is a major key to the vision of MMFI as well.
As we draw near to the annual MMFI Fall Conference, this may be the perfect opportunity for you to reconnect that which has been broken. Why it happened is far less important that the fact that it did happened. Your destiny is tied into the life and ministry of others, and you can’t get away from it. You can settle, like Arnold did, for another life, but it will be lesser than the one God intended.
The point here is quite simple. You can’t go where you were called to unless you do it with those God put in your life to get you there. As TD Jakes has said many times, “we hold onto our past at the expense of our destiny”! Maybe it’s time to just let things go and make those God-ordained, all important reconnections. Your destiny hangs in the balance and those the enemy has successfully pulled out of your life are part of the solution you need right now. Consider this as you meet and greet one another at the end of the month. I believe it could change everything!