Stolen Valor

Claiming the Status but Without the Standards

I am a veteran. United States Army, 1966-1969. I have my DD 214, my honorable discharge certificate and my VA benefits ID card. I was not a hero, no combat medals. But I did serve.

Have you heard of Stolen Valor? This describes the appalling spectacle of someone who didn’t serve in the military pretending they did, in an effort to falsely gain either benefits or attention. Under United States Law (2013), it is a violation of federal law for someone to falsely claim military service, awards or decorations or even “embellished rank.” At discharge I was an E-5. If I started telling people I was any higher, I would be in violation of federal law, subject to the penalties for making such a false claim. It is serious, in the sight of God and federal law in this case, to claim status that is a lie.

One way to express this is – Claiming Status Without The Training, The Reality and The Standards. And that is also common in religion. There are men who claim to be current apostles. Women who claim to be prophets. Preachers who claim God spoke to them directly. And ordinary people who claim some extra-ordinary status with God and over people.

And of course, people who just say “I’m a Christian,” but without any training in discipleship, have not met the standard or conditions of becoming a Christian and have no proof of spiritual life in their behavior.

The only valor belongs to Christ. The only claim we can make is, He is our Savior and we have responded to Him according to what the apostles taught. And we continue to live to the best of our ability, standing in the grace of God.

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