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A memory I am not proud of

Have you ever had a memory pop up from long ago, something you had completely forgotten? It happens to me occasionally, and earlier today, I had a one of my worst-ever memories come to mind. I was actually shaking and almost choked up just thinking about it.

It was 1986, and I was in the Army. We had just gotten into formation. For those not familiar, I mean it was the beginning of the day. I had showered, eaten, and dressed, and we all lined up in a formation; that is, lined up according to platoons and squads. Our company captain (C.O.) spoke to the entire company. He announced that Rock Hudson, who had recently announced that he had AIDS, had died overnight. What happened next, in hindsight, is mind-bogglingly shocking. There was applause. Every soldier in the company, upon hearing of Hudson's death, burst into applause, and cheered loudly. I honestly don't remember if I joined in, but I probably did. Still, I remember that I was very bothered by the outburst.

Thinking about this reminds me of other things I had said and thought in regards to the onset of AIDS in the 80's. I had no sympathy towards anyone with the disease. They engaged in immorality, so they got what is coming to them, I said to myself and others. Not my problem. I sure wasn't concerned about ever getting it myself, being straight and Christian and all. Plus, I couldn't even get a date, so opportunities for sexual immorality weren't exactly beating down my door.

My behavior and words, in hindsight, mortify me, as does the eruption of applause that we all engaged in that morning. When I remembered it today, I was appalled at myself and my fellow soldiers. We were applauding the fact that a man led a miserable life, believed in some lies, had a sham marriage to cover up his lifestyle which was born out of those lies, led a secret life, and then spent his last years dying a slow, agonizing death. As far as we knew, he never knew Jesus, never had the opportunity to embrace the healing and life and liberty that Jesus offers, and now he's dead and will be separated from Jesus forever. And for this, we cheered.

I don't know how one goes about ranking his worst memories, but this one is in my Top Five.

1 John 4:7-11 "Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love. By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another."


Anonymous said…
I'd wager to say that most of us have memories that we are ashamed of. I know that I do. Memories of things I have done that hurt people. Times when I went along with the crowd and did things which now I am deeply ashamed of. The best part of God's mercy is that HE has forgotten those things, and that we can claim His grace to cover our very ugly nakedness. HE covers our sin for us.
James said…
Dear Anonymous:

I have no doubt about what God's mercy can do. But sometimes He brings things to our mind for a reason. Perhaps He is calling for repentance of a certain sin; or in this case He might be preparing me for a ministry of some type. The possibilities are endless. I have no doubt, though, that He is the one who made me remember this. While I'm sad that my attitudes back then were what they were, I'm satisfied with the fact that, in 2009, I was appalled by this incident. That's progress.
lionwoman said…
I agree James... it breaks Father's heart. He loves everyone... Christians sometimes fail to reflect this love... may we all see his heart and reflect that...

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