In June of 2009, Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl decided to walk away from his battalion, abandoning his fellow soldiers and his country. Frustration had built up in his mind and he felt the entire military system was flawed and corrupt. So he just walked away. This resulted in the injury of several fellow soldiers who went out in search for him. Ironically, Bergdahl ended up getting captured by the Taliban and spent 5 years enduring brutal captivity and torture. In 2014, Bergdahl was released by the Taliban in a prisoner exchange.
Soon it came to light that Bergdahl had deserted his post and he had endangered his fellow soldiers. He recently pled guilty to all of this. Today we’ve received word of the judge’s ruling on Bergdahl. He is receiving a reduced rank, a dishonorable discharge, and a fine, but will not serve any jail time. As to be expected, this ruling has brought a variety of responses. Some agree with the judge’s ruling, thinking Bergdahl served punishment enough at the hands of the Taliban. Others think he at least deserves prison time, and at most execution.
No matter where we stand on the judge’s decision, desertion is an extremely serious offense, especially when we begin talking on spiritual levels. In the Lord’s army, deserting the Almighty God is the most costly of offenses. But before we skip past the rest of this article thinking that it isn’t something that is a challenge for us, let’s remember that even Jesus’ apostle struggled with desertion. Judas committed the ultimate betrayal and desertion (Matthew 26:47-50). All of the apostles fled from Christ when He was arrested (26:56). Peter publically denied knowing Christ three times (26:69-75). If even Jesus’ apostles struggled with desertion, we are far from immune.
If we’re being honest, sometimes it’s difficult to admit to others that we’re followers of Christ. Too often we shy away from starting conversations with others. Maybe we shamefully hide our Christian roots. Or maybe we even blatantly deny being a Christian. Jesus says it plainly, “Therefore everyone who confesses Me before men, I will also confess him before My Father who is in heaven. But whoever denies Me before men, I will also deny him before My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 10:32-33).
God has made it extremely clear that His followers must remain dedicated. Doing this will bring us access to His grace (Galatians 5:4). It will also result in the crown of life (Revelation 2:10).
No matter what comes our way, no matter how difficult things become, don’t be the one who deserted the Lord. Stay loyal.