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South Texas Living

Don’t you get stripped too

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July 15, 2015 | 2,369 views | Post a comment

When one’s thoughts are being consumed by current events that will surely impact the future of our “Land of the Free,” it is hard to not comment about them. As a part of our freedom of speech, when expressed over a period of time by enough citizens, there comes about an automatic invocation to the representatives of said citizens to apply a measure of checks and balances to correct certain inequalities or wrong doings.

In my time I have witnessed Richard Nixon, president of these United States, removed from office in disgrace; baseball great Pete Rose stripped of his accomplished glory; multiple winner of the Tour de France, cyclist Lance Armstrong, stripped of any mention he even participated in the competition; scapegoat Joe Paterno, the greatest of college football coaches, was unfairly stripped of his victories resulting from the actions of another (thankfully, his honor and victories have been restored). The flag of the Confederate states has been removed from the sight of those who feel they are still threatened by it and the cause it stood for during the Civil War.

I accept that and also hold mixed emotions fearing history will be totally stripped (ripped) from the minds of our future leaders, rendering them vulnerable to making the same mistakes. I guess true-to-history, well-maintained museums will preserve the facts for those who are interested enough to seek them out. But, I suspect soon there will be no mention at all of that period of our history in our public school curriculum. Kids today don’t even know the names or locations of the 48 states, maybe the other two. I wonder if Bill Cosby will be stripped of his syndicated sitcoms that portrayed him as a righteous husband, family leader, and guide for proper living. (Waiting for the next shoe to drop.)

[Romans 12:9-21; Titus 3:1-11] Parents and teachers alike know that one of the hardest lessons for a child to learn is not to return evil for evil. When one child pushes another, the typical response is to push back in return. Older siblings have habits of doing mean things to the younger that would antagonize and aggravate them. Of course, when it came time for revenge, I was the one to get caught and punished. Like the football referee, Mom never saw the first offense, only the avenging offense.

We have the hardest of time understanding that God sees the first offense every time and has His own way of dealing with those who offend others. He warns us: “Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath ...” So Tom, what you’re telling me is God wants me to sit back and watch the injustice happen and the unrighteous run amok doing whatever they want to whomever they wish, right? No, my friend, just the opposite. God is telling you that you are on the front lines, His first line of defense. “... Hate what is evil; cling to what is good.” “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.” “Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.” “On the contrary: ‘If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.’”

So, is the law of the land wrong? No, just imperfect. God has allowed the will of evil men to prevail at times, but righteous men, with the help of God, have miraculously turned the tide when all else has failed. God wants us to do what He would do, not what we think we ought to do. Our manual is the BIBLE: Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth.

Thomas W. Bonham is an associate minister with the Floresville Church of Christ. Email him at Find his column on his blog at

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