Footsteps in Faith: Seek truth, embrace faith — but not as a weapon

| January 13, 2017 | 0 Comments


Chaplain (Capt.) Mark. R. Lee
307th Expeditionary Signal Battalion

311th Signal Command (Theater)
HELEMANO MILITARY RESERVATION — I read an unfortunate, but interesting, account out of Texas concerning a poor choice on the part of Mr. Fernando Padilla that landed him a jail sentence that will span over a decade.

Mr. Padilla was found guilty of assault with a “deadly weapon.”
One might assume that he used a gun or a knife when he assaulted an ex-girlfriend and received such a hefty sentence. In fact, the weapon of choice was a small statue of baby Jesus.

ThinkstockPhotos-81296359Even a peaceful depiction of a faith group’s Savior can be considered a “deadly weapon.” In Texas, any item “in the manner of its use or intended use (that) is capable of causing death or serious bodily injury” is a “deadly weapon.”

I suppose we could call this a case of statue-tory assault.

Seeking truth in 2017
Coming out of the holiday season, in my faith tradition of Christianity, I am reminded of the story of the wise men who sought to find baby Jesus. I think a lesson for us today from that Christian account is that wise men still seek him.

Our faith can inform our lives, and it can be used to help or hurt others. This New Year is your blank check to use – as you desire.
Proverbs 23:23 (KJV) states, “Buy the truth and sell it not.”

I suggest in this New Year that we each consider doing two things:
1) Buy the truth. I see Proverbs 23:23 calling upon its reader to make an investment in truth. I like to ask people of faith if they are living up to the tenants of their own faith tradition. In other words, I am asking them how invested they are in their faith – if at all.

2) Challenge your faith. Next, Proverbs 23:23 calls its reader (who has invested in truth) to, in a sense, put up a sign that says, “Not for sale.” However, I assure you that 2017 will at some point challenge you to sell out some part of your faith.

Such instances often find us much like an upset Mr. Padilla. However, the time to make good choices starts with an initial investment and is sustained with a determination not to “sell out.”

Footsteps in FaithThis New Year, consider making resolutions that are informed by your faith tradition. Once you are invested in that resolution, remember not to use your faith as a weapon, but in accordance to truth. Certainly, Mr. Padilla used a religious icon of Jesus, not as a sword, but certainly not for peace either.

As we prepare to greet the New Year, we are presented with an opportunity to enact any number of resolutions to bring into our lives attributes, such as personal peace, the strengthening of relationships and a general desire to make good choices.

Indeed, we all have choices to make. What will make the critical distinction in these resolutions are the process, or lack thereof, that informs these decisions.

How will you use your faith to inform your New Year?  Chose wisely and it may spare you from an instance of statutory-assault.
(Editor’s note: Lee is the chaplain for 307th Expeditionary Signal Battalion.)

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Category: Footsteps in Faith

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