Saturday, September 7, 2013
In the Army I had to deal with a lot of crap. I'm not complaining. It was simply part of the job. You may wonder how soldiers are able to put up with all the tough parts of the job. They are subject to a life of crap on a day to day basis. Things like: irregular sleep patterns, lack of sleep, bad tasting/little food, blisters, fatigue, working in austere environments, cold and hot weather extremes, getting dirty, getting shot at, getting blown up, etc... the list goes on and on. How do they do it? How do they prepare for all of this crap? It all starts with training. The very first part of a soldiers training begins in Basic Training or " Boot camp". In Basic Training they have a phrase called the "Crap-meter". This refers to the amount of crap you are able to handle before you reach the breaking point. To improve this "crap-meter", during training a soldier is bombarded with controlled chaos at the hands of his Drill Sergeants. The more crap one has to deal with, the bigger your meter gets and in time, you will naturally be able to deal with more "crap" without reaching the breaking point.
What does all this have to do with following Jesus? Well, in civilian life we all have a "crap-meter" as well. We have a meter for day-to-day life situations. We also have a meter for how we relate to others. How much "crap" can we take from someone before we reach that breaking point relationally? By relational crap, I mean anything someone else does to you directly or indirectly, that warrants some level of forgiveness by you. How can we as followers of Jesus improve our crap/forgiveness meter? I believe that just like a soldier, it involves training. For starters we must become aware of how much we have already been forgiven of by God. By God's grace we have been offered complete and total forgiveness of every sin we have committed or ever will commit. The scriptures say that our sins have been cast "as far as the east is from the west", they tell us that God "remembers our sins no more". This is really good news! Over and over again Jesus tells those who follow him that we must forgive others as God has forgiven us. If we let the truth of our forgiveness get down deep within us, our crap/forgiveness meter for others will begin to improve. When we understand just how much crap God puts up with in us, we should find our "crap-meter" in relation to others getting bigger and bigger. So lets work on it. Spend time every day reflecting on the fact that you have been forgiven. And when you mess up again, you are already forgiven for that too. Then, go and do the same to others. Love and forgive others as God does for you. When we do that, in a small way His kingdom breaks into this world just a little bit more.