Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Big Stumble

We all stumble in many ways. 
Anyone who is never at fault in what 
they say is perfect, able to keep their
whole body in check.  
James 3:2

The headline read:  U.S. Marine Corp Soul Searching After Video.   

Souls are a fairly significant place to initiate an investigation.

You have probably read or heard about this disturbing story yourself; this cadre of U.S.  Marines that have come under scrutiny for their hideous desecration of deceased, Taliban enemy combatants.  I doubt they have any inkling of the avalanche they'd create with this snowball.

The guilty parties consisted of a few - four in all - and today the Marine Corp has the herculean job of clearing it's once pristine name because of their actions. In addition to the soul searching, you can be certain there will be a fearless & thorough investigation about what went so terribly awry - and this to ensure the avoidance of so egregious an act in the future.

How sad that the behavior of so few have blighted the name of so many.  In this instance, their actions have even imperiled ALL American military & citizens.  Our enemies now have new fuel to fire their anger.

As I've considered the story and the requisite soul searching it's engendered, I cannot help but connect THAT dot to another...

It is equally sad & disturbing when reports roll in about a believer's fall from grace (I'm not keen about that term as grace is grace; we don't climb UP to it, so it's hardly possible we can fall DOWN from it; but for lack of another analogy I'll stick with it), especially when that fall involves a public figure like a pastor or priest, or someone with a significant ministry, media post, etc.  Highly visible descents get huge public coverage.  

More than a mere stumble, these nosedives are often so hideous as to receive much scrutiny & legal action - as well they should.  Trouble is, that scrutiny and it's companion, disdain, are often directed at Christianity in general, and God in particular.  Like those wayward Marines, a few Christians call down disrepute upon the many, and even upon the Lord Himself. 

It's not my place or intent to render judgment against them.  God knows I've had plenty a slide of my own!   Besides, we onlookers rarely have the whole story.  So this is as much a reminder to self as anything:  none of us very far from a fall, and a serious one at that.  

It's troublesome when guilt for the crimes-and-misdemeanors of a handful - be it Marines or Christians or any other entity - falls on the innocent.  And Who is more innocent than He Who was judged, found innocent, killed anyway (for the fallen, be they Marines or Christians), so that grace itself would never, ever plummet?    

It is the very reason we who believe do not condemn the falling or fallen (even if the fall-er be ourselves).  It is why we protect our testimony & witness ... not to gloat or strut or to crown ourselves worthy  ... but to esteem the Name above all names.

The soul is always a good place to begin any investigation.

Do not destroy the work of God 
for the sake of food. All food is clean, 
but it is wrong for a person to eat anything 
that causes someone else to stumble.  
Romans 14:20

Lord, the LORD Almighty,
   may those who hope in you
   not be disgraced because of me;
God of Israel,
   may those who seek you
   not be put to shame because of me.
For I endure scorn for your sake,
   and shame covers my face. 
Psalm 69:6-7


Shirley said...

Good read!

Denise said...

Thanks for sharing this post.

Nancy said...

Thank goodness we have a God that can pick up the messes we make and turn them into something beautiful....

Your words cause me to ponder the falls.....

elaine @ peace for the journey said...

Soul examination... always a good place to start.

There have been times when I've sat back and wondered, "How did I get myself into this mess?" You're right... it's a short leap from righteousness to sin. My father has always said, "Elaine, never say it would never happen to you. When you stand there, you're one step away from turning that corner."

We're all at risk, and without the fullness of God's Spirit living with us each day, well, just think of the mess we'd make.


Karen Lange said...

Indeed it is! Makes me ever more thankful for His grace and abundant mercy.

Blessings, Kathleen! Thanks for hopping over to my guest post. :)

Just a little something from Judy said...

Yesterday at Bible Study we looked at King David, Rahab, and Saul, and saw that most amazingly, our God uses those who we would never think of. I love that about our God, even though my tiny, finite mind does not understand it all. I am overwhelmed with thankfulness that He can even use me and my messes. Good post!

NanaNor's said...

Hi, Very thought provoking post; so thankful that His Mercy is new every morning. Have a splendid day.
Hugs, Noreen