On this Tuesday of the First Week of Lent, I continue my journey through Scott Hahn’s book, Lenten Reflections from A Father Who Keeps His Promises.
“You’re a disgrace to the uniform!” The Dirty Dozen (1967)
When I was in the Navy, heavy emphasis was placed on presenting the right image, on representing the Navy and the U.S. with honor. While pulling into a foreign port on a destroyer, we were reminded that we were “showing the flag.” An officer who was drunk and disorderly on liberty might be charged with “conduct unbecoming an officer.” We were always cautioned to avoid any “appearance of impropriety.” Commendations rained on those who “reflected great credit” on the United States and her Navy. Conversely, punishment fell on those who dishonored the flag and “brought discredit to the Navy.”
We bore great responsibility that accompanied the great honor of wearing the uniform of the United States Navy. We were the face of the Navy, the first and often only encounter many in the public and abroad had with the Navy. Because of this, we were reminded to behave accordingly.
How much greater a responsibility, then, do I bear with the honor of bearing God’s image and likeness? At times I may be the primary encounter others have with the Church. Do I live my life as a positive example of Christ’s followers? I know I have not always lived up to the honor. How many people have I turned from the Church by my choices and actions? How often have I chosen words that hurt others?
At the same time, while I look to my outward example, I need to understand better the inward effect of the knowledge that I am made in God’s image. Self-esteem, self-perception or self-image, whatever you call it, my true identity is that I am His, created by Him in His image and likeness. If I can only remember this daily, I shouldn’t have any issues with self-esteem.