Monday, May 25, 2015

Standing Tall

We're all human. We have our faults and failures. We have those little things that have big consequences that we struggle with and, if we're completely honest, we hate that we do. We wrap ourselves up in our guilt, self-bashing over the fact that we've struggling with something.

I want to tell you something:

There's no shame in fighting.

Seriously, though. If someone blindsided you in an alley, you'd fight (or run). If sometime grabbed you and started to pin you, you'd make a grapple check and fight to escape. If you were thrown into the middle of a war zone, you'd grab a gun and fight for your very survival.

So why do we heap on the shame when we fight with sin?

I think we, as the church, have a slightly misguided idea on sin. Actually, frankly, we don't talk about it at all, not personally anyway. We see in the bible that we are to become like Christ, we see those Christians who are mature in their faith and we compare ourselves in our deficiencies. We see pastors being attacked and laid low in ridicule and run because of sin, when it's truly a lack of grace and understanding on the part of the secular media.

Sin is real, people, and until we reach heaven we'll be dealing with it. Heck, that's part of a Christian's ministry, fighting with sin and showing God's grace, mercy, and forgiveness. After all, we have a reminder in 2 Corinthians 12:9 that God's strength is made perfect in our weakness, that in our failures, he has an opportunity to show his power.

Does this mean that we should sin more to honor God? Absolutely not! The personal goal of Christianity is to constantly become more like Christ. There is no way in which purposefully, constantly sinning brings us anywhere near that.

No, we fight. Sometimes we fight things we can deal with on our own. Sometimes we need to enlist the help of a brother or sister. But for all of those times and ask the rest, we still need to be relying upon and honoring God.

So, next time you feel in the dumps about wrestling with sin, remember, you're not alone. I can guarantee there are others in the church who have been exactly where you are right now.

Fighting is not failing. It's when you give up or give in that you've lost.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Other Servicemen

When it comes to supporting their military, America comes head and shoulders above every country I know. Biannually, we recognize military men and women, current and past, present and missing, living and passed. There are multiple charities and nonprofits whose sole purpose is helping veterans back on their feet. They even get discounts at many places.

I'm going to say something controversial: it's excessive. Recognition, I understand. Reintegration support and counseling, I understand. Rehabilitation, I understand. Discounts? No, not really.

I mean, I get it, it's a way for a business to express gratitude and appreciation and, were such a discount present solely on veteran's or memorial day, then I'd have no issue, but it's not. Ten percent, twenty percent discounts are available year-round and, as a result, from someone in the service industry, many military individuals and families develop a sense of entitlement to this treatment, expressing disgust when a business has no such discount.

Military, you are not entitled to such a discount. While I appreciate the service you give and gave, risking your lives abroad to protect those within the country, I strongly disagree with such special treatment. After all, there are many service individuals within our borders who perform the same base role.

Where is the annual day of appreciation for firefighters? Where are the police and sheriff discounts? Where are the support organisations for EMTs?

Each of these groups faces danger on a daily basis to help keep us safe; each has experienced the loss of fellows, yet we only thank and remember them on days of great tragedy, like 9/11 and many times, we leave them in the lurch, backing those acting against them.

If this attitude were displayed against the military, many world rail against such individuals, bringing them to task abd exerting much effort to shame them.

So, let's lose the discount, at least on non-remembrance days, and, instead, let us take the time to remember, celebrate, and offer discounts to the other servicemen and -women risking their lives for our safety and well-being at home. Let's remember the other servicemen.