4 Reasons Boycotting the National Anthem Hurts Rather Than Heals


It is a privilege to live in the USA, an honor most of us take for granted on a daily basis. While many still face prejudice, even that is quite tame to the immense freedom and prosperity all enjoy in our amazing country.

So our NFL players got the idea that kneeling during the National Anthem and saluting of flag would evoke change. Since they are boycotting the flag, are they also willing to boycott the freedoms that come with it? I think not.

From my perspective, the problem with NFLers demonstrating during the National Anthem is multi-fold:

1) The National Anthem, along with saluting the flag, is not the issue nor does it represent the issue.

The National Anthem resounds with powerful words of freedom and patriotism. Blood, sweat, and tears were shed for the words of that song to be more than just words. When people kneel when it is sung, it is disrespecting the sacrifice of our ancestors and legacy of their bravery. If you want to make a statement about racism and injustice, pick another way. It feels like you are throwing the baby out with the bath water here.

2) Americans are guilty of giving their sports heroes credibility in subjects they don’t deserve.

Yes, they are incredible athletes who have risen to the top of their sport. They are not politicians, historians, attorneys, orators or anything else they often try to represent. We must recognize this fact. Sure they have a right to express their opinion, but we should not give so much credence to them just because they can throw and catch a ball well. We empower their voice to be more than it really is, more than we ought to.

3) We have to be more direct in dealing with the problems.

Kneeling during the anthem doesn’t make change. It only causes controversy and divisiveness. Change comes when influencers of all races come together to find forgiveness and set the tone for peace and unity. Standing as one – a team representing a diverse group of people united for a common purpose – is far more effective in the fight against division. On the field and in every facet of life.

4) Boycotting the National Anthem is hypocritical.

You can’t boycott the symbol of freedom, yet partake in all its blessings, and be taken as an authentic voice of change. I don’t think racism is acceptable on any level.  However, protesting this way is not only ineffective but makes the situation even worse. The hypocrisy of the athletes has only brought more unhealthy intensity to the issues, and we are more divided than ever.

In this great country, we do have a right to protest. But we have a greater responsibility to love, to respect, to uphold each other. To stand as one nation under God, indivisible, for liberty and justice for all. With this pursuit, may the only knee we take be to the One who can bring us all together.

TruthHurts #1

I’m starting a segment on my blog called TruthHurts. A “TH” is one specific statement that is meant to be a blast from the truth that moves us to wake up and think.  Think of it as a reality check for Christians. I hope it challenges you to deeper things.

TH#1

If your faith doesn’t revolve around helping those in need and showing grace to others, perhaps better words for what you practice is a “customized religion” rather than “genuine faith.”

Happy Funerals

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He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away. Revelation 21:4

Being an Infected Saint means facing the reality that we are all going to die. Infected saints are positionally perfect in Christ but still battle with sin. Unless Christ returns first, death is inevitable. Rarely does anyone look forward to dying. As Christians we get much more excited about the thought of resurrecting with a perfect body. I can’t imagine me with a perfect body. That is Heaven! But seriously, you cannot know the joy of the resurrection without first knowing the pain of death.  It is only out of death that something beautiful resurrects.

I read an article in Christianity Today (March 2016) recently on Christian trend towards “happy funerals.” Christian funerals are encouraged to have a positive spin: they are in a better place;  they feel no more pain; you need to move on while cherishing the memories.  More upbeat songs are being played at funerals. There has even been a change in clothing. Dark suits have been replaced with something more upbeat and casual. The goal is more celebration, more moments of joy. I get that.  Jesus brings victory over death. Death is not the final word for a believer. That is cause for celebration. Yet, joy should not replace our grief. It is not only ok to hurt; it is necessary.

If not careful, we could be in danger of brushing over the truth about death. Death is loss. It is a time for grieving. Shortest verse of the Bible shows Jesus weeping over the loss of his friend, Lazarus (John 11:35). Was Jesus showing a lack of faith? Did Jesus not know death was not the final word for Lazarus? Why didn’t Jesus celebrate? Jesus knew that Lazarus would walk again in a few moments from then, yet He still wept tears of grief. Jesus felt great sorrow. His tears were not just for His friend but for the necessity of pain and death because of sin. Death is a constant reminder of the destructive nature of sin. Jesus wept for it.

Hope should be apparent in a Christian funeral. As the word says, we “grieve but not as those without hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Yet, we are no different than any lost person who loses someone they care about. In fact being Christian means we understand better how to love and so our pain might be felt even deeper than the nonbeliever. That pain should not be ignored. Not letting yourself feel or express the pain is not a mark of spiritual achievement but a denial of the reality of loss. We need to deal honestly with our pain. We hurt because we cared. We need to feel that, experience it, and let it come through in whatever way it wants. Grieving is not a sign of doubt, but serves as evidence that you loved deeply.

Death reminds us of the tension between living in this age and the age to come. Infected saints know that this world is not home. We look forward to the afterlife but face the reality that we have to pass through death to get there. Death is necessary for resurrection. Resurrection is our hope. Death might be imminent but it is not the final word!

We should celebrate our hope in Christ at a funeral but not to the dismissal of our pain. So if you lose someone you love, grieve deeply. It’s ok. Don’t lose hope while you grieve, but do not feel guilty for hurting deeply. Jesus did and so should we.

Why So Angry? Support For Christians Struggling With Anger

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19 Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger; 20 for the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God. James 1:19-20

Is it wrong to be this angry? That really is the question is it not? Anger is not necessarily a negative emotion. It really depends on the “why” and the “how” behind your anger. I would suggest your goal not to be to eliminate anger but to better understand the dynamics behind it so that you can better manage your anger.

So first of all, WHY do we get angry? What leads us to get so upset that our blood boils? See if one or more of these do not relate to your struggle.

  • To hurt yourself– you mess up and you cannot stand it. The perfectionist in you raves about the fact that you can’t always get it right. So you direct anger at yourself. You self loathe. You hate feeling like a failure as a spouse, parent, worker, or in general. So you have this self hatred that exists and brews in you.
  • To achieve control of the situation– quite often we get upset that a situation or relationship is not going the way we want. We feel like it is out of our control. That can cause us to feel panicky. Some, in moments of panic, run and hide. Others feel cornered and lash out. Anger is our attempt to gain control back in the situation. To manipulate the situation more to our liking. I find this to be a major cause of many people’s anger issues.
  • To feel powerful- no one likes to feel small. For some, feeling small brings the demon out in us. We lash out with sarcastic venom or passive aggressive subterfuge or barrages of curse words. We tear them down so they feel much smaller than we just felt. You may not realize in the moment this is what you are doing but if you take time to evaluate your outburst of anger honestly, then you might find that this is the culprit.
  • To fight injustice- we might call this righteous indignation. Jesus showed anger towards injustice. When the money changers were using God’s house as a way to make a fortune, Jesus got very angry. So angry he turned their tables over! (See Matthew 21:12). This anger comes from a deep conviction of what is right and wrong. It is our moral center. It is our desire to stand up for what God values. It is outrage towards injustice. This anger is a proper reaction to injustice as long as it is under control, less we act unwisely.

So there are four reasons we get angry. If you are like me you can relate to all four of them. Question now is how do we better manage our anger in a way that honors God and is healthy for us.

HOW to deal with your anger:

  • Don’t ignore it or try to suppress it– this never works! Our anger just builds up until it becomes a major explosion. Think about a tea kettle being heated on the stove.The water begins to boil and steam is produced. Steam creates pressure and pressure needs to be released. The kettle releases the pressure through a top spout. The kettle can literally whistle in relief as the pressure is released. When our anger builds, we feel the growing tension of it in our soul. It stays there growing until eventually we let it out to purge ourselves of the tension. The more we let it build the greater the impact of release. It feels good to relieve the pressure, so in our moment of anger it fees right and good to us. Afterwards we see the destruction it left behind. We have to deal with our anger. We have to get behind it to deal with its source: fear.
  • Recognize that Fear is the real issue- some of us are terrified of being hurt. We fear being devalued or taken lightly. We fear our voice not being heard. We fear losing control. Fear is the source of much of our anger. In order to properly deal with our anger, we need to tackle our fear. God’s word tells us He did not give us a spirit of fear (2 Timothy 1:7). Rather we are to have self control. We are to control our fear and not wait and try and control our anger. When it gets to anger it is too late. We need to deal with the fact that our fear is us being minimized. Instead of defending our worth in hopes they buy it, we need to better understand where our true value comes from. This means dealing with our insecurity.
  • Don’t let insecurity put you on the attack- Anger is a defense mechanism. We deeply feel our own failings and insecurities and it can overwhelm us, so we lash out defensively so the feelings will stop. Insecurity is like a raw wound in us. You would react violently to anyone trying to jab their finger in your wound. Anger is our attempt to get  that person to stop exposing our insecurity. Where does our insecurity come from? There might be many reasons you experience insecurity: past rejection, demanding relationship with your parents, divorce, broken relationships,  or your personality tendencies. Regardless of where the insecurity stems from it is in understanding your value in Christ that you realize you don’t need to get so  angry in order to defend yourself and your honor.

Anger is not always the wrong response to life but often it indicates a greater issue that exists. Be honest with yourself about why you get angry. Is there one of the above reasons  that resonates with you the most? Consider how to deal with the source of that anger. Have courage to face your insecurities and fear head on. Knowledge is power and your being aware is a great step. You can do this with the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit behind you.

Dax