This Is Us: A Credit To Your Race
When I was growing up I often heard this phrase – “You’re a credit to your race.” It was usually given as a compliment or commendation for something well done. Thankfully, I don’t hear this anymore as this “compliment” is rooted deeply in racism, ignorance and insensitivity. This said, Pastor Ed’s sermon this past weekend made me think about being a credit to your race.
The miracles taking place in the First Century Church were nothing short of mind blowing. The question and existence of miracles have long been debated in this world and within the Christian church. I remember listening to debate among theologians if God still performed miracles today. One line of thought advanced the perspective that miracles were only for the First Century Church and God ceased performing miracles once the Bible and the Church was established. The other end of the spectrum holds unequivocally God is still performing miracles today and in abundance. I think God can do whatever He chooses to do. What is clear and what was made clear by Pastor Ed is miracles validate or give accreditation to the Good News.
I am a child of God and this is where I wonder about being a credit to my spiritual family. As a Christ-follower do my actions and thoughts validate the message? Does my treatment of people, living in my relationships, or working out truth and justice reflect the mercy, grace and forgiveness of Jesus Christ? If asked, would those around me and those in contact with me say, “Bill – you’re a credit to Jesus Christ?” (In reality it is the life changing transformation of relationship with the Creator of the Universe that is observed.)
I understand “life happens” and it sometimes difficult – very difficult. And it is understandable that our reactions and behaviors will reflect the agony. In such times I doubt folks would say to me I am a credit to Jesus. It is so good to know and experience that God is love. His mercy and grace are deeper than the deepest abyss of my failure. I may not receive forgiveness from people but with God I will and I can start again. 1 John 1:9 states: If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Psalms 103:12 reads: As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. And finally Romans 8:37-39: But in all these things we overwhelmingly conquer through Him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, will be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
An old movie about World War 2 comes to mind. Darby’s Rangers staring James Garner as William Darby is the story of the first elite fighting unit formed in the U.S. Army. This all volunteer brigade overcoming many hardships is trained and molded under the command of Colonel Darby to become a highly disciplined, highly skilled, extremely tough and effective fighting force. At the end of the movie the Rangers on a rescue operation of embattled troops is overwhelmed by a vastly larger and more powerful German division. Of the over 700 men who go in only 7 come back. Colonel Darby has fought hard and struggled side by side only to see utter destruction. Defeated, demoralized, and disconsolate Colonel Darby steps off a landing craft and walks along a beach as lines of fresh soldiers get ready to embark for the next campaign. Darby trudges along with his head down, shoulders slumped and with the look of failure on his face. A voice shouts out from the line of embarking soldiers, “Wow, look at that Ranger patch.” Heads turn and the light turns on in Darby’s head. He is a Ranger, he needs to carry himself as such and honor those who have fought and died. Darby straightens up, adjusts his pack, lifts his head and marches forward resolutely with dignity even though he has just come through hell on earth.
Sometimes we come through what we imagine is hell on earth be it a tough relationship, bad choice, a calamity or a simple happenstance of life that disturbs our comfort and we act much less than Jesus would have us do. We can trudge along disconsolately or we can remember that we are children of God, fully forgiven and fully equipped to pick up and be a credit to our family.