When I sat down to blog last time, my goal was to address the wide array of opinions within the Christian community concerning the killing of Osama Bin Laden by Navy SEALS. There was no way to foresee the craziness that the last 10 days have brought to my life. My blog had some 10,000 views, there were newspaper interviews, radio interviews, and television interviews. This has all been a little overwhelming, but affirms that I must write a book to help Christians who serve in the capacity of law enforcement and the military.
In the midst of this craziness, another issue surfaced. Initially I thought I should ignore it, but now the media has asked my opinion and I am compelled to write it out so I am not taken out of context.
Last Wednesday I could say, "Just Google: 'SEAL pastor' and I am the only person who comes up." Today, I cannot because a pastor in Pennsylvania lied about being a SEAL and then decided to share his thoughts on the killing of Osama Bin Laden. A number of people have sent me links to this story and have asked for my perspective. I do not have the time nor do I want to write on this in full, but I feel it is appropriate to make a few comments.
1. Honesty is always the best policy. I know this is a little cliche, but it is very possible that this all started with a little misrepresentation or little white lie. Lies lead to more lies and the Bible makes it clear, "Your sin will find you out" (Numbers 32:23). This whole thing could have been averted if he simply stopped this misrepresentation from the get go.
2. Our self worth comes from who we are in Christ. Most people struggle with self worth. We view perfect looking actors on television and in movies and feel inferior. We think, "If only I had this...(you fill in the blank) and then I will be happy or content." This is a carrot that Satan dangles out in front of us. I chased it, King Solomon chased it, and Mic Jager is still chasing it (I think). We can chase external things till the end of time, but will always conclude with Mic Jager: "I can't get no, I can't get no; I can't get no satisfaction!" Pretending to be something that you are not will only lead to more discontentment. My prayer is that each of you reading would grow in your understanding of who you are in Christ and find satisfaction in Him alone. If you are not a Christian, it is easy--believe upon Christ for Salvation (John 3). Your worth is not is not based upon your bank account, degrees (or lack of them), accomplishments (or lack of them), good looks (or lack of them), but in Christ alone (Philippians 3:4-14).
3. The integrity of the pastor is critical. I can already hear it, "Gunnar, I thought the Bible says, 'Judge not'?" This is uncanny. Last Sunday I had to preach on Luke 6:27, "Love your enemies..." This Sunday I have to preach on Luke 6:37, "Do not judge, and you will not be judged..." On Sunday, I will have more to say about this, but for now I will point out the Scriptures make it clear that the pastor must be above reproach, respectable, and must have a good reputation with non-Christians (1 Timothy 3:1-7). As a pastor, I see why the Bible puts such a high standard upon the man who is call as a pastor. We are ambassadors for Christ and function as His shepherds. The reality of my role within the church and community keeps me very humble and dependent upon the Lord. I am a sinner saved by grace and I am in desperate need of the Lord's help.
4. Forgiveness and consequence are distinct. I do not know this pastor, nor do I have any affiliation with his church. Ultimately he sinned against the Lord and I pray that he works towards forgiveness and reconciliation with Him as David did in Psalm 51. I do believe he should resign as a pastor in order to work through healing with himself, his family, his church, and his community.
5. We should pray for this pastor, his family, and his church. This is obviously a very sad story. Much shame and pain has been brought to many people. I am thankful that God is in the business of healing and restoration. My prayer is that all people involved would humble themselves before the Lord and allow Him to work through this situation.