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The Curse Of The Red Shirt

One of these people will not be returning to the ship

redshirtI’ve watched Star Trek my whole life. It’s the first show I remember ever watching, and I just watched one of the Star Trek movies not long ago – Khan! Khan!!! KHAN!!!! Wrath of Khan is the best Star Trek movie ever, hands down.

One of the best parts of the show is the redshirts. For the Trek uninitiated, redshirts are the security guys on a starship. It’s odd that he’s lost so many redshirts over the years, considering how highly trained and exceptional Kirk’s crew is portrayed to be.

What happens is this – the Enterprise warps into action, and when the doomed planet is in view, Kirk says, “Standard orbit, Mr Sulu.” Then, Kirk, Bones, Spock, a random other crew member and at least one guy in a red shirt beam down to the planet. Then, approximately 2.8 seconds later, some yeti with a horn, or a giant angry rock pounces on the person with the red shirt (the only exception is if the redshirt is a girl. Seriously.) . Bones, the doctor (blue shirt!), runs over and waves a spinny salt shaker thing over his face and says, “He’s dead Jim!” Cue DUN Dun dun music, cut to commercial.

Week after week, something like this happening, you’d think they would just change the color of the guy’s shirt, right? During it’s three year run on television, Kirk lost 13% of his crew. 73% of those deaths were people attired in red. Coincidence? I think not.

It seems like common sense, when applied after the fact to a 1960′s tv show, but how many of us tend to live our lives this same way? We have an experience, it is bad, and even though it was bad, we repeat it. Are we hoping to end up with a different result at some point? That is the definition of insanity.

The bible says it another way – and this is not pretty – “As a dog returns to its vomit, so a fool repeats his foolishness.”

Would you agree that it is foolish to keep doing things the same way, when the end result is disaster, every single time?

Have you ever heard someone say, “Oy, I will never drink that much ever again!” That was me, every Friday and/or Saturday night my first two years of college. I would come dragging back to the dorm, somewhere between 1 and 6 am, stagger up to my room, sleep the sleep of the dead, then hate myself for it later. But I did it over and over again.

There’s a cure for whatever it is that ails you. It’s not hair of the dog, either. It’s Jesus! For those of us who have wrestled with our own foolishness, who have tried again and again to change, on our own, but keep falling into the same ditch over and over again – quit beaming yourself into whatever it is and try something completely different.

King David, from the Old Testament, was a man after God’s own heart. But he still had sin in his life! In other words, he was just like you and me, but he knew it – he knew he was sinful, and he knew what to do to get past it. This is from Psalm 51 – “God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not banish me from Your presence or take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore the joy of Your salvation to me, and give me a willing spirit. Then I will teach the rebellious Your ways, and sinners will return to You.”

Repentance – that’s what David was doing. And that’s what you and I need to do. When we’re trapped in our sin, when it seems like it will never end, when we have tried everything we know to do and it’s just not enough – repent!

Repentance is simply changing your mind – by the power of the Holy Spirit. You can’t do it, but God can. You have to be willing to lay down what you think is the right thing, the fun thing, the thing that everyone else is doing, and allow the Spirit to change you.

So – throw the red shirts in the trash – you’re not doomed, or cursed or condemned. You just need a relationship with Jesus! You can have it right now – ask Jesus to be your savior, put your trust in him, confess to him what he already knows, that you’re sinful and can’t save yourself, and ask him to fill you with his Spirit. Then – enjoy your new life in him! Tell everyone what he’s done for you, turn your back on your old life – because you’re brand new and the old things have no power over you anymore!

I’ve moved past my old, foolish ways. I’m not perfect – but when I’m in a bad place like David was, I take it to God. You can do that, too – right now! He’s listening, he’s ready to act. It’s up to you what happens next – trust him!
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