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A recent front-page story in the Wall Street Journal (January 6, 2004) reported U.S. Marines being trained for duty in Iraq are getting drilled in people skills as well as heavy weaponry. They are receiving instruction about staying respectful as well as about staying alive.
Marines are still being taught to fight. They are gifted in heavy weaponry and with the tools to use them effectively; but in order to diffuse hostility borne of suspicion they are being taught to ask questions first and shoot later.
Yes, there is great risk to such a strategy. An enemy certainly can exploit it for his purposes, and Marines still will have to be alert to defend themselves; but they are being asked to believe that people in Iraq "can still be won over if American troops treat them with more dignity, patience and understanding."
So they are being asked to use their fighting skills wisely, to employ them with discretion, remembering the greater mission of working with the people of Iraq in order to promote peace. This means they will sometimes pull back instead of fighting. Some of their intimidating apparel is being removed. The course talk and the gruff demeanor, which are so much a part of the militaryís image of power; are being toned down. Itís not just simper fi anymore. Itís semper respectful.
Thatís the way itís got to be when youíre trying to win the peace. Wars are fought and won with an indiscriminate use of force; but if youíre trying to build consensus you need to exercise your power with greater precision and tact. You need to use the tools at your disposal with greater care so as to unite and not divide, so as to encourage and not dissuade.
And thatís true, as well, when it comes to the church. One might say thatís Paul chief concern today. In the chapters leading up to our text Paul has made the point that the church properly speaking is a body made up of various believers united together around Christ who is the head. In addition God has uniquely gifted these many members of His ...
Nelson Mandela sacrificed 27 years in prison but he came out with a right spirit, and it was a spirit of forgiveness. He invited his jailers and the jail warden to his i...
AND WHICH ONE WERE YOU?
Maybe you heard about the Desert Storm soldier who while he was overseas received a Dear John letter from his girlfriend back home in the states. To add insult to injury, she wrote, "Will you please return my favorite photograph of myself-- I need it for my
engagement picture in the local newspaper."
The poor guy was devastated, but all the soldiers came to his rescue. They went throughout the entire camp and collected pictures of all the guysí girlfriends. They filled up an entire sho...