Sunday, April 18, 2010
Pants on the ground
Unless you've been completely disconnected from television and internet for the past year, you're probably familiar with this tune. It was made famous by its creator, Gen. Larry Platt, the 62-year-old civil rights activist, when he sang it for the American Idol auditions this year.
As a teacher, I have used this song quite a bit to humorously remind young men to keep their pants pulled up. Most are gracious and simply pull them up. However, as I walk around town I am still bombarded by young men (and some who are obviously old enough to know better) who walk around literally "showing their rear"! That phrase used to mean you were acting a fool, guess it still pretty much means the same only now all those around are subjected to the view or your plaid underwear, or in the worst cases, your dingy bvd's! Just the other day I watched as a young man crossed a busy intersection in front of me and he had to hold up his pants with one hand while dodging traffic. I have seen students run for the bus only to have their pants fall to the ground and almost cause them injury when they stumbled over them in the gravel parking lot.
But it wasn't until today that I finally started to understand what was going on with "pants on the ground." Our youth pastor was sharing a message on the armor of God and he titled it, "The Belt of Truth - Truth holds up more than just your pants." It was then that the random though hit me....no wonder so many young men are walking around with their pants falling off - they have no belt - no TRUTH!
Over the years, I have watched truth become more and more relative in people's eyes. The whole, "if it feels right for you" nonsense explains why these young people are walking around with their pants falling off and then telling you it's "comfortable". It feels right to them...even if it's not.
Think about it. People think it's normal now to lie. They expect it! We expect if from our politicians, our news media, etc. We have learned the hard way that people lie...and we justify it. We say it's normal and everyone does it. I have students who will blame their misdeeds on everyone around them, even ME, but almost never admit to telling a lie or doing wrong. They have been taught - deny, deny, deny. It has become a way of life for them, and in the process, they have given up the belt of truth that would strengthen them and allow them to run without fear of their lies tripping them up.
Belts are sometimes uncomfortable - so is the truth. Belts show us when we're getting a bit lazy and out of shape - so does truth. Belts may be seen or not, but if you're not wearing one and haven't yet "grown into your britches", everyone around you will know about it....same with Truth. Telling the truth often lets the world know you're growing up. It is tough to tell the truth when you know it will mean you get in trouble. Telling the truth means you are becoming a person of character, depth, and responsibility. You can be trusted.
Perhaps the greatest reason for truth is that it sets you free. I have to wonder how many young people with their pants hanging off their rears think they are showing the world how "free" they are, when actually they are showing the world their bondage and slavery. They have become slaves to the lies they have come to believe. Lies like: if it feels good do it, women are for your pleasure, sex is love, all authority is out to get you, divorce is normal, infidelity is normal, violence is normal....don't believe me? Turn on the radio or watch a little tv. You'll find plenty of lies, but to an entire generation of young people it has become what they think is real. They've lost their belts! They bought the lies!
I don't think I'll ever look at a young man with his underwear showing quite the same again. Now I don't see rebellion, I see someone who has lost their belt of truth and it shows. We simply see on the outside something that has been slowly happening to our country on the inside for years. It's time to put back on the whole armor of God, beginning with our belts. It's time to examine my own life to see if perhaps my spiritual pants are 'sagging'. I want to know that every part of my life is held up by truth so that I can run, not from the battle, but into it. I don't want to be a person who is "looking like a fool with my pants on the ground." How about you?
Ephesians 6:10 - 18 "Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints."
John 8:32, "Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free."