A COTC Staff Opinion Piece – By James Knox 10/17/2021
Perhaps you have had to ask yourself at some point in life, “what is it I stand for?” It would be hard for me to imagine anyone who has not had to explore this sometimes painful existentialistic question. The painful truth is in life, the answer to this question may not have been easy to discover, always consistent, or one you may have liked when you discovered the source and cost of the answer. Many who read this may be able to relate; others may feel challenged or threatened. Yet, let me be clear; this is a call for action within your soul, and the one whom this is written to shall know. Would you please follow this collection of words as we crack the façade of our Trojan Horses?
I have had but a handful of friends in life. Yes, many people who know me and love to be around me as I am around them, but true friends, just a few. Once I discovered WHO I am for and what I value above all else, the value of true friendship realigned itself in a way I think few can conceive. I turned my life over to Christ many years ago. I must be clear, I turned my life over, but it took far more time to allow Christ to be the guide within the path I took. I initially was fearful of what my friends may think. Many things in life occurred until one day I broke. Well, perhaps God allowed me to break so I would have no choice but to turn to Him. Though I gave my heart to Him, I had not given it unconditionally, and I had to let go of the limitations, the straps I held onto in a feeble attempt to maintain control.
In following Christ, I found myself continually trying to surround myself with other followers. Then one day, it clicked. Jesus did not stay with those who believed in Him. Yes, they followed Him, but Jesus sought the broken, the weak, the least in the eyes of the worlds to love them. While doing so, Jesus often had to speak out to his followers and question their motives.
When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, z “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.” John 21:15-17
Jesus challenged Peter on who he was at his core. If you love ME, then you show it with your actions. How does this relate to us, to me and to those few friends I have? In any Christians’ life, God is first, but what is second? I think this is where we begin to crack the façade of the trojan horse. It is this question where what we value is challenged to our very core. For me, it is our Republic, for America could never have formed if it was not for faith in God and the many obstacles and egos that were overcome to corm the Constitution and Bill of rights.
On September 17, 1787, delegates left the Constitutional Convention in Independence Hall in Philadelphia. As they exited, Benjamin Franklin was asked what kind of government do we have? “A Republic,” he replied, “if you can keep it.”
We have a Republic because it was given to us through divine guidance and direction from God! Would you let a friend take this away from you? Maybe a better perspective, if you had a friend, someone who lived with you, communed with you and over time grew to love and respect them as the person you believed them to be. Is it right for you to stand up against those who may doubt your friend’s integrity when that friend is not honoring the Republic or God first? Do you stand blindly up for your friend even if they are misguided? Do you stand up for this friend when you discover they may have entered your life with a purpose higher than yours and not genuinely directed by God?
I think it is easy to say this is not a friend when reading this, but in life, the act of challenging oneself and acknowledging the cracked façade of the trojan horse is painful. It is these moments, I believe, that define us. Do we cling to a friendship that we have to face our own inadequacies if we let it go, and perhaps a path we are scared to walk alone? Do we, like Jesus, call out the friend and question the motives that drive them, or worse yet, the basis of the friendship itself?
I know you are reading this, and perhaps steaming in the audacity I have to write these words. I, too, am far from perfect. But the one who is my friend knows this, I have walked alone in God before and shall continue. For He is all I need, and friendship that asks of me to turn from Him is no friendship at all.
God, the Republic, and my immediate family are what I value and in that order. Friendship to me is a very distant second to those three. You as my friend already know this. To those who may need a friend, maybe you should ask yourself this; why have I allowed this trojan horse into my life, and what will I do to crack the façade?