September 2017  
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Chappy’s corner: How embarrassing!

Alice was in her late 80’s and her sight was very poor. As the pastor listened to Alice talk about her family, he noticed a bowl of peanuts on the table. Having missed lunch he decided one or two peanuts wouldn’t be missed, so he took a few, then he took a few more, and a few more. As Alice talked, the pastor nibbled on the peanuts until he noticed that he had eaten all the peanuts in the bowl. Very embarrassed he said, “Alice I’m sorry but I started eating your peanuts and I ended up eating the whole bowl.”  Alice smiled and said, “Oh that’s okay pastor.  Those were chocolate covered peanuts and I only liked the chocolate so I sucked the chocolate off and let the peanuts.” At that point the pastor was very sorry he had eaten the whole bowl of peanuts.

Like that pastor we have all done something we wish we hadn’t done.  The truth is no one is perfect, we all make mistakes. Some of those poor choices may cause little or no harm; maybe a bit embarrassing to us or to someone else. But sometimes those choices can lead to some great harm and dangers.

This past week the news is filled with a military leader involved in an extra marital affair.  Sadly such things happen with many folks, but since this man held a very high government position it has become a scandal for him, his family and for the nation.  One might excuse the man’s mistake by saying “nobody is perfect” and that may be true, but it doesn’t mean what was done is “okay”.  As a military leader he is expected to be a role model to others, especially lower ranking officers.  But, then all of us are role models to someone. Maybe it is to our son or daughter, to a youth in our church, or to a neighbor or fellow worker.  Being a role model doesn’t mean we will be perfect all the time, but it does mean that we think hard and long about some of the decisions we make.

As a Chaplain I wear a cross on my uniform which means wherever I go I represent the US Army and more importantly my Lord, Jesus Christ.  My actions and my words reflect on both.  Having those symbols there reminds me of my role and what I should strive to be.  At times I have failed to do my best, but in such situations I hope for some mercy. Depending on what I have done the Army may or may not show mercy.  But in Jesus I know there is mercy.  Christ forgives because of what He did so long ago on that cross outside Jerusalem.     Knowing what Christ did for me motivates me to strive to be a better witness for Christ  in the future and hopefully not an embarrassment to the Christ or to the Army, or to anyone else.

What is true for me is true for all of us whether you wear a uniform or not, you are a role model so I encourage you to live a life is a witness to others.

That’s just my thoughts from this SE Corner of South Dakota!

CH (LTC) David Gunderson

JFHQ SDARNG