Special Forces Association
Chapter XXIII - 23
The Speck & The Log

The Speck and the Log
(or How To Limit Your Circle of Friends)

I looked into the mirror the other day to check out the scar from my back surgery. The body I saw in the mirror was definitely not that of a young lithe world conquering Special Forces troop of years ago. It sported less hair, bulges where there were none before, scars from earlier surgeries; i.e. a body touched by age ~ one with many imperfections, one that others could criticize, point the finger at, reject, or discard as not meeting their impossible standards.

None of us meet the standard of perfection except Jesus Christ. Yet it seems, that although we’re a family in S. F., we also seem to be our worse critics. “So and So is a good soldier, but…..” I think that too often our focus is on the negative rather than the positive. We have trouble accepting each other with our strengths and weaknesses in the way God accepts us. As I would travel from unit to unit I’d hear the A-Teams bad-mouth Company Hqs., Companies bad-mouthed Battalion, A Battalion bad-mouthed Group Headquarters, and Group HQ bad-mouthed the rest of the Army (generally for lack of support or understanding).

Our focus tends to be on the shortcomings, the weaknesses, the bad rather than the good, the strengths, the uniqueness of the individual.

The Bible is a good place to look for a model of how we should look at both ourselves and others – especially our fellow S.Fers.

MOSES tried to bail on his orders from God to lead the Israelites out of slavery into the Promised Land by a stream of excuses about his lack of public speaking ability. Then he destroyed the tables on which the 10 Commandments were written when righteous anger got the best of him. Later he struck the rock to provide water to thirsty complainers instead of simply speaking to it as God commanded. Yet God saw his heart and his potential and left him in command rather than relieving him.

DAVID bedded down and impregnated the wife of one of his deployed elite troops and arranged for his death in combat, yet God saw David’s contrite heart and character and said “David is a man after my own heart” and left him in command though with a note in his 201 file.

PETER the natural leader of Jesus’ 12 disciples, faltered when he felt backed into a corner, and saw his dreams of the future being crushed. He denied even knowing Jesus three times, yet he continued to be a leader in the early church and served the risen Lord until he, too, was crucified.

SAUL/Paul held the coats of fellow Pharisees as they stoned Stephen to death for testifying that Jesus Christ was the promised Messiah, the Savior of the World. He put others to death, imprisoned others, and basically made life miserable for anyone following the risen Jesus. Yet God saw that his dedication to what he believed was right and opened his eyes to the suffering he himself would now have to endure as a faithful follower of Jesus Christ. Shipwrecks, stoning, beatings, imprisonment, ridicule, and finally death but he never wavered, never threw in the towel. He remained focused on the mission to the end.

All of these individuals had aspects in their lives that people could criticize or point the finger at, but God focused on what their lives could be rather than what they were at some low point in their lives. The Bible reminds us that “while we were yet sinners Christ died for us” not while we were pillars of the community or maxing our EER’s or OER’s. Maybe as we close out the year and celebrate the birth of Jesus we can make a greater effort to focus on each others strengths.

A Joyous Christmas to You All!

Chaplain Col. Vahan Sipantzi
26972 Lower Pleasant Ridge Rd.
Wilder, ID  83676
(208) 482-7495