It’s Okay, They’re Just Indians

I know, I know. You don’t have to tell me.

sitting-bull-394471_1280That title is offensive on several levels. First, the culturally appropriate word for them is Native Americans. Second, the idea that “they’re just” is a pretty odious sentiment. It conveys they idea that how we treat people can be based on who they are rather than on who WE are or on an intrinsic value that lies within all humanity.

Unfortunately, this seems to be precisely the sentiment many people are taking towards the Standing Rock Sioux and the Dakota Access Pipeline. In case you’ve been living under a rock:

The pipeline is currently under construction by Dakota Access, LLC, a subsidiary of Energy Transfer Partners, L.P. The minor partners involved in the project are Phillips 66, Enbridge, and Marathon Petroleum. The route begins in the Bakken oil fields in northwest North Dakota and travels in a more or less straight line south-east, through South Dakota and Iowa, and ends at the oil tank farm near Patoka, Illinois.

The Sioux are protesting the pipeline, saying “that the pipeline threatens the Tribe’s environmental and economic well-being, and would damage and destroy sites of great historic, religious, and cultural significance.”

I’m not particularly concerned with environmental issues in this post (that’s a conversation for a different post). What I am concerned with is how we treat people. Christians have a biblical mandate to treat people well. In fact, we’re called to treat people well even when people mistreat us (one of the Bible’s most difficult teachings regarding suffering under evil rulers and masters). Additionally, people of faith are called to be honorable in how we deal with others.

Do you remember the last time someone broke a promise to you? How did it make you feel? The Bible refers to vows or promises and that God’s people are supposed to known as vow keepers.

If a man vows a vow to the Lord, or swears an oath to bind himself by a pledge, he shall not break his word. He shall do according to all that proceeds out of his mouth. ~ Numbers 30:2

Since God himself is a covenant maker and covenant keeper, we are also supposed to be like that. Yet our government has been notoriously bad at keeping covenants with Native American tribes. Historically, when we have desired something that was on Native American land, we would break treaties, take what we desired, and relocate the people to new land and/or new promises.

I’m reminded of the words of the prophet in Hosea 10:4:

They speak mere words, With worthless oaths they make covenants; And judgment sprouts like poisonous weeds in the furrows of the field.

You don’t have to agree with the politics of the thing, but when it comes to honoring covenants and how we treat people, I believe Christians ought to be the first to stand with the Standing Rock Reservation. Here’s a page outlining 10 ways you can help support the Standing Rock Sioux.

It doesn’t matter who the people are – we are called to treat people well. The Bible says that we’re supposed to treat others as BETTER than we treat ourselves. Unless the covenant is an immoral or ungodly covenant, we are called to be covenant keepers just as God is a covenant keeper with us.

Preventing Extramarital Affairs: Part 1

Unhappy Couple

I recently officiated a wedding. Part of my wedding message was about God’s design that marriage be a permanent covenant, not merely a part-time gig to try out until you get unhappy or something else comes along.

At the reception a gentleman who attended the wedding was talking to my wife and me and thanked me for including that part in my message. He commented that many people seem to think marriage is something you stick with while it is convenient then bail when the going gets tough. He said in the decades he and his wife and had been married there was a time when they thought they weren’t going to make it. My wife and I looked at each other and I said, “We had a time like that, too.” To which this gentleman replied, “Most couples go through something like that, I think.”

And it’s true. Any long-term relationship will have rough patches (some rougher than others). There will be times when we want to call it quits. But marriages can survive even the tough times – if we’re smart about it. And nothing is stupider or more difficult to overcome than an extra-marital affair.

Before you start accusing me of bashing men, research shows that infidelity is not limited to men. The Journal of Marital and Family Therapy released some startling numbers.

Percent of men who admit to committing infidelity in any relationship they’ve had 57%
Percentage of women who admit to committing infidelity in any relationship they’ve had 54%

This is a problem that both men and women need to get a hold of. So over the next few months I’ll be sharing some practical tips on how we can actively work to prevent affairs in our marriages.

So, the #1 tip to preventing affairs – Make a decision and commit to the idea that you will never have an affair. No circumstance can justify infidelity, so simply decide that an affair is never an option, no matter what happens in the marriage. The Bible indicates that there is something powerful in putting our minds to something.

If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. (Colossians 3:1-5)

I have friends who are hard-core road bikers.

No. Not
Easy Rider

I’m talking
Peleton

They tell me that the racer’s vision is HIGHLY important to the direction of the bike. Where your vision goes your bike will start to move in that direction. Where our brains our bodies will follow. If we take the Apostle seriously then we need to keep “our minds on things that are above.” Decide that infidelity is not an option in your life. Stay tuned throughout the series as we cover more tips for preventing affairs.

For additional reading, see A Celebration of Sex: A Guide to Enjoying God’s Gift of Sexual Intimacy by Dr. Douglas Rosenau – don’t worry, it’s a Christian book 😉

Related Posts:
Preventing Extramarital Affairs – Part 2