Saturday, May 26, 2018

Stop Memorial Day Lip Service: Repent & Live

Throughout human history, each generation has established memorials to remember things that they deemed important lessons, hoping to remember persons or events that shaped their generation, or something earlier. Sometimes the memorial was for something good and constructive, but more often it has been to mark things that have had deadly impacts on people. There are always lessons to be learned, IF we will ourselves to search history. But, sadly, too often, we cater to our flesh above all other things, with few souls caring to look at the reasons for what we call Memorial Day, here in these United States of America. 

Ironically, many may angrily retort that they have performed their obligatory or voluntary moment of silence, or gone to a parade, or gorged themselves almost sick with food since they want to prove that they have the means and freedom to do so, or they may have drunk an inebriating amount of alcohol to salute fallen soldiers in whatever war they may or may not remember and ascribe to its correct century. Memorials call us to do more than simply drink, or eat, or get together, or say a prayer. 

Memorials call us to actively engage with life, that we emulate the good that was done, AND that we put down the evil that repeatedly finds new ways to raise its head, in our own lives, and in general. Memorials call us to engage daily with our fellow citizens to make sure that good continues to be done and that evil is not allowed among us... including all the things that God hates. Yes, in His great love, God hates sin and sinful behaviors, because sin hurts us, His creation, and our sin hurts our relationship with Him. A prayerful, thoughtful reading of God's Word can quickly show that there is a huge difference between how God views and experiences love and hate versus how the world and our flesh measure those. For God, love and hate are always pure and righteous decisions to act for good. For us, love and hate are mostly rollercoasters of emotional reaction, and seldom come close to what God wants us to understand. Even when memorials seem to have little to do with God, they can help us take stock of who and what we are. They can help us judge ourselves in truth to press on toward what we can become, if we abide in God's Word.

The Bible is a record of what God considers to be the most important facts of human history, including how He has repeatedly reached out to us to get our attention and how He has continually desired our repentance. All of that is a memorial that points us to our urgent need for a right relationship with Him. Without reading and understanding God's point of view of humanity (the Bible), it is impossible to correctly understand ourselves or human history. God closed the canon of Scripture with the Book of Revelation, where God curses anyone who adds to or takes away from what He has said. He didn't stop human history, but expects everyone to heed His Word and turn back to Him in repentance and faith in His only Savior; His only plan to save us from our sin. God says repeatedly throughout His Bible that there is no other way to get into a right relationship with Him than to acknowledge, accept, and cling to His Memorial of God's Salvation, which is Jesus Christ. Many have argued against what God says, but, let's explore the following embedded link and see what God's Word literally says about memorials (a word that is only used 32 times in 31 Bible verses, even though there are numerous passages throughout Scripture that demonstrate the memorialization of various events or people). 

According to most biblical examples, memorials should inspire us to want to get closer to the objectives that God sets before humanity, closer to Him, closer to a desire to look beyond our own fleshly desires and failures. Biblically, memorials should make us want to shun people, behaviors, and things that would draw us away from God. 

Let us all examine our memorializations of things and people, whether birthdays, Christmas, Easter, Memorial Day, monuments, awards, medals, naming things or towns or streets after people. Let us ask ourselves, "Who gets the glory?" Let us ask ourselves, "Does this bring me, or us, closer to or farther away from a sound biblical relationship with God and His Christ?" Let us ask ourselves whether our behaviors are simply indulging our flesh, or are we honoring the One True God, Jesus Christ, who created us and made us in His image and for His pleasure, that we should learn to be like Him, born again of His Holy Spirit and Word, hungering and thirsting after Him, not chasing our fleshly desires or worldly lusts. In this moment, right now, we need to care about eternal things, so that we gain eternal life and not assign ourselves to eternal death.

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