All the little things add up in life|
Posted 8/1/2012 Updated 8/1/2012
Commentary by Jim Hart
JBER Public Affairs
8/1/2012 - JOINT BASE ELMENDORF-RICHARDSON, Alaska -- When I was training to be a broadcaster at the Defense Information School, there was an incident involving some prior-service noncommissioned officers and an Initial Entry Training Soldier.
They had been partying, gotten drunk and, in their compromised state, decided to do some mean things to the private who had passed out (involving duct tape and water-based paint).
They got caught.
It was an enormous blow to morale for the IET troops.
They had learned to look up to NCOs and look to them. That worldview had crashed because of an evening of indiscretion. It was a mess.
What I couldn't know was how my lack of complicity would figure into it.
While everything was being sorted out over the coming week, a young female Soldier came up to me and asked, "Specialist Hart, you didn't have anything to do with this, did you?"
I told her I hadn't.
"Good. We were hoping you weren't involved, too."
In Christianity, scripture teaches that you become a new person in Christ - that your taste for sinful acts diminishes greatly.
This doesn't mean you become sinless, rather, debauchery and other things counter to God's word are foreign to your character.
Imagine if I had participated.
What would that say about my faith? About God? If my God has no authority in my life, how can I say he is real?
Let's take this to a new level. Columbine High School, April 20, 1999. Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold killed 12 students and a teacher, reportedly laughing as they did it.
Few would argue the demonic qualities of this event.
One of the girls killed was a relatively new Christian with an equally dark past.
She too had fantasized about mass killings, but she came to faith at a youth camp - her heart was changed.
The note she penned to a friend the night before her death said it all: "Honestly, I want to live completely for God. It's hard and scary, but totally worth it."
There are new believers all over the world, and many believe at their physical peril.
Many hundreds of them are martyred for their faith every year, frequently by beheading, stoning, or being burned alive - simply because they will not recant their faith.
There are numerous accounts of new converts in the Middle East who are brutally murdered in the name of God.
This is reminiscent of John 16:2, "They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God."
Of course, one of the most poignant stories of faith to the end is the familiar story in Daniel 3, where Shadrach, Meshach and Abed-nego (their Babylonian names) were commanded to worship the statue in direct violation of God's commandments.
When pressed by the king (who threatened to throw them into the furnace) they replied, "...O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up."
These stories of faith unto death humble us, but they should also serve as a stark reminder.
While everyone remembers the last big play of the game, we should also remember that every advance on the field built up to that.
While many of us pray we will have the faith to die with Christ, we forget that the outworking of our faith should be in our ability to live with him and in him.
Clearly, in Columbine, the new believers around the world and in the case of Daniel's contemporaries, their God was real.
As believers in the West, we should pray he is real to us every day, especially when it counts.
For that Soldier looking for someone she could trust, my obedience to God counted very heavily.