Look for the scars

“The trouble with referees is that they know the rules, but they do not know the game.”

_Bill Shankly, Scottish “football” (soccer) player and coach

Currently I am reading a book of sermons preached by Scottish minister, James McGinlay. They are biblical, well written and well laid out but not particularly captivating, that is until I read the fifth sermon.   

The fifth sermon was different.  The title was the first hint that I might be about to read something different – “Should a Christian Go to War?” (Not your typical Sunday morning fare.)

The tone of the sermon was rather dramatic. Metaphorically, Pastor McGinlay must have stepped into his pulpit with “guns blazing!”

As I continued reading it finally dawned on me why there was such passion and pathos in Pastor McGinley’s message – the sermon was preached during World War II.

He and his people were living out the message. Their homes were being bombed. Their sons were dying. It was their country that was being threaten with extinction.

For McGinlay and his congregation, the question of whether or not a Christian should go to war was not an academic research paper or a philosophical thesis; for them it was a live debate with flesh and blood at stake.

It was a reminded of three things…

(1) Let us be slow to speak about things we don’t really know about. If we do not have the scars to back up our words, best to be slow to speak and quick to listen.

(2) Let us be more patient with the angry screamers and fist-shaking people of our day. Maybe they are living through something that we know nothing about.

(3) It could be that God allowed or even orchestrated the circumstances that caused your scars because you are supposed to speak up.

The ONE THING for today: We are not obligated to have an opinion about everything or to weigh in on every debate, but there are a few things that we must speak up about. Knowing what those few things are is wisdom. A good place to start your search is to review your scars.