What A Man Says
I have wanted to share this for a while, but it’s always difficult to display oneself openly. I was looking for an old picture taken of me, on my knees, wrapped in an American flag, blindfolded with a cigarette in my mouth. I had a pistol pointed at my head. The photo was taken of course to make some quasi-political statement, as one does when they are seventeen years old. I was quite oppressed living in my mom’s attic, growing up in a small town in the USA. I however, cannot find the photo, more than likely I had thrown it away, not wanting anyone to see it.
I only shared this story to say that I have been on both sides of the spectrum. I killed my first child with the help of Planned Parenthood. I convinced friends to buy large amounts of drugs and then broke in to steal them. I fought against cops and openly mocked religious leaders. I have dishonored my parents, betrayed my wife and let my family down. All of these actions were many, many years ago. Some were not so long ago.
I have since gone on to create with my wife nine wonderful souls. I have kicked all habits and spent my time and money helping others as well. I have led groups for men that have struggled with pornography and helped them find freedom and hope in their marriage. I have given money away, knowing I would never see it again. I was made deacon in a church I once fought so hard against.
The reason I am sharing these shameful snapshots of my past is to make a case in point. Recently our nation has gone on a spree, tearing down statues of once thought of great men. Historians and others comb through [their] lives and expose their faults and finding some, they called for the razing of their monuments. Most people that know me today say I am a great guy and that is only because I have followed one other, Jesus Christ. Every man has let me down, including myself. I am thankful for the foundation that those that have gone before me have laid. As I have told my good friend, we are all schmucks. Thank God for His Grace. Ephesians 1:7 specifically states that, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s Grace.”
I share this not to say how far I have come, but to ask you to stop and try to see from the other side. We are in a time in this nation that we hurl bricks and insults at those on the ‘other side’. The news draws lines between white and black, Democrats and Republicans, gay and straights, etc...We villainize the other side. When we stop and look, we can see younger versions of ourselves. If you are thankful for the grace and forgiveness you have received, show it by giving it. Freely as you have received, freely give. (Matthew 10:8)