Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people (Proverbs 14:34).
What if our grandmother walked into our Marine barracks? Or joined us at our Army DEFAC? Or walked up behind us as we were shooting the breeze with our buddies aboard ship, or while we were doing maintenance on our aircraft?
Proud that her grandson or granddaughter was serving her country, impressed by the sharp uniforms and the respectful salutes—how would she feel about the talk?
Would we need to apologize for what she might hear from those around us? Would we be ashamed over what came out of our mouth when we did not realize she was near?
Trash talk in the NFL and NBA has become somewhat common. But even that is on a higher level than the trash that comes out of the mouth of many in uniform.
“Swear like a Sailor and cuss like a Marine!” Trash talk can identify us as if it were our uniform.
But would the talk be much different in a college dormitory or on a construction crew? Probably not.
That’s sad, and that’s serious.
When sin becomes a badge of honor, when vulgarity becomes the bond between brothers, then evil has invaded the realm of righteousness. And evil never brings good.
Christian warriors, like Christian children and Christian grandparents, live in a world influenced by, and often promoting spiritual garbage. Evil is a constant threat and sin is a constant temptation. It is an old, ongoing struggle.
The Apostle Paul tells us of his battle against sin: “I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For what I do is not the good I want to do; no, the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing” (Romans 7:18,19).
The fight against ISIS and the Taliban and every other earthly enemy may be fierce and difficult, but nothing compares to the fight for our soul against the Powers of Darkness.
So how did the Apostle Paul overthrow this enemy? He tells us. But he makes sure we understand that he did not do it alone. He knew when he was outmatched and overpowered. He exclaims: “But thanks be to God. He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (I Corinthians 15:57).
Real righteousness comes from God alone. The righteousness that belongs to the Son of God covers all of our unrighteousness. His holiness covers our sin. The decree of the Almighty echoes across the barriers of time to reach our ears: “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus…” (Romans 8:1)
That’s the kind of talk we want to hear; need to hear; need to remember; and need to live.
Saint Paul put it this way to his fellow Christians: “The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet” (Romans 16:20)
That’s God’s kind of trash talk.
We remember the words of the famous hymn:
A mighty fortress is our God, A trusty shield and weapon;
He helps us free from every need That has us now o’ertaken.
The old evil foe Now means deadly woe; Deep guile and great might
Are his dread arms in fight. On earth is not his equal.
With might of ours can naught be done; Soon were our loss effected.
But for us fights the valiant one Whom God himself elected.
You ask, “Who is this?” Jesus Christ it is, The almighty Lord
And there’s no other God; He holds the field forever.
And then we live as if the words were absolutely true.
Because they are.
Written by Pastor Paul Ziemer,
WELS National Civilian Chaplain and Liaison to the Military,
Cape Coral, Florida
Provided by WELS Ministry to the Military