The following exceprt is taken from Bradlee Dean's new Comic Book, My War: The Testimony of Bradlee Dean...
It has been said, "Where there is darkness, crimes will be committed. The guilty one is not merely he who commits the crime, but he who caused (or allowed) the darkness."
We need to understand that the only light the youth have is the truth that has been given to them. And in America we can see clearly what happens when they are robbed of that light and truth.
In this comic book, My War, I have shown you how light exposes the darkness, truth exposes the lie, education exposes indoctrination, and how love exposes hate.
Choice vs. Sickness
Have you ever noticed that in America the youth have been taught to equate immorality (lawlessness) with sickness, rather than with making bad choices? Lawlessness (sin) is moral, not physical. In other words, I can choose to obey and do the good, or I can choose to disobey and do the bad. I cannot choose to overlook the right choice, make the wrong choice, and then excuse myself from the consequence of that choice by saying that I am sick for making it. You have the power to choose from the heart to do either the good or the bad, the right or the wrong, to obey or to disobey.
Choice - The act of choosing; the voluntary act of selecting or separating from two or more things that which is preferred; or the determination of the mind in preferring one thing to another (Webster's 1828).
For example: If I am hungry, I make the choice to eat. If I am thirsty, I make the choice to walk to the cupboard, get a glass, fill it up with the drink of my choice, and then swallow it down. This is choice. I can equate it with the choices that the youth make today, such as rebelliousness, sex, drinking, drugs, lying, stealing, dishonoring their parents, and even killing.
These are not sicknesses, they are simply violations of the Law by the making of bad choices.
Sickness - State of being diseased (Webster's 1828).
Disease is involuntary. It is not by choice that one gets a disease.
Let's differentiate between the two: Choice vs. Sickness.
About 15 years ago, I was watching a program on TV where a man who was grossly overweight had a supposed eating disorder. They said that he was sick, and that he "just could not help himself." He was so big that he could no longer get out of bed, poor guy. As time went on during the show, I noticed that the camera crew started to play the emotions of the guest audience. They would show a camera angle of the man lying helplessly on the bed, and then immediately swing back to the guest audience who began crying for this man, who, as they said, "just could not help himself." Again, they said that he was sick.
The guest audience was playing right into the hands of the camera crew's work. The emotions were high while the guest audience was being played like a ping pong game for all to see and feel.
However, the camera crew made a mistake. They pulled the camera back to the man lying on the bed, and right there in front of the whole world was the problem for all to see. The man that "just could not help himself" had a plate of food right under his face. I noticed that it was his hand grabbing the food and putting it into his own mouth. I did not see anyone around him shoving the food into his face, nor did I see anyone put a gun to his head to make him eat. No, this man was making a choice and a bad one at that. He was making a choice to kill himself by indulging in his pleasures and voluntarily overfeeding his body. And to the ignorance of the guest audience, they were falling for the fact that he was sick hook, line and sinker. Was this man not responsible for his own choices? Yes, he was! Yet, not according to the guest audience who said that he was sick and "just could not help himself." To date, this man is deceased. And the consequence in this case: death by overeating.
If this man was sick, then where, I ask, was the love to warn him? According to the guest audience, to overlook warning this man was their version of love? No, it was a lack thereof! That which was there to warn him was out of sight, out of mind, and especially out of heart. The standard to give this man the distinction, knowledge and forewarning of choosing that which is good from bad, or right from wrong, was nowhere to be found. What is that standard? It is the Law that said, "Thou shalt not kill"! In other words, "Stop eating so much, man. You are killing yourself!" It is called lasciviousness (irregular indulgences - Webster's 1828).
My War was very similar to this man's. I kept eating what the world had to offer, and while people were feeling sorry for me, I continued indulging myself in iniquity (sin) and could no longer get up out of the bed that I myself had made. I was partying, drinking, doing drugs, having sex before marriage, and serving myself in every way. I knew that things were not right in my life, and I was convicted at every turn, but I could not put my finger on what was wrong. I felt condemned at every step that I took, and at times, I would even try to ignore my own conscience because it was so overwhelming. I was simply enjoying the pleasures of sin for a season, not knowing its end: death!
It Gives You a Knowledge
Listen to this analogy: You are speeding down the highway. You are driving 70 m.p.h. in a 55 m.p.h. zone, and are breaking the law by 15 m.p.h. When you get pulled over by the police officer, the first thing he does is point his finger at the law to show you your violation. He then hands you a ticket for your violation of that law, which is a form of judgment. In response you say, "Officer, Iím sick and there is something wrong with my foot," take the ticket, rip it up and then throw it on the ground and say, "Officer, I'm sick, (not responsible) and you need to help me!" How's that going to go over? Iíll tell you. He will pull you out of your car, hand cuff you, make an immediate arrest, and then throw you in the back of the car, laughing the whole time, of course, while he calls his buddies up, telling them, "Can you believe that this guy thought I was going to fall for the fact that he was sick?"
You don't need a day with the counselor; you need a day in front of the judge to pay for your violations, which are the consequences of the laws that were broken!!! This is how you establish righteousness - through judgment.
What would have been the situation if there had been no law posted? There would have been no violation, because there was no Law posted to give you a knowledge of your violation. This is where sickness makes its entrance. If you are sick, then you do not need to be responsible. What does the Law do? It gives you a knowledge of your violation and brings you to your responsibility to choose liberty rather than jail, right over wrong, and life over death (Romans 6).
What rule is man to go by when God's Law (the Ten Commandments) is lowered and man begins to establish law according to his fallen state? Lower the Law and you dim the light by which man perceives his own guilt. With this mentality, criminals who commit crimes are being overlooked and excused or written off as being sick, when they are simply choosing to break the law!
Taken The Time
Had someone taken the time to show me that I was the one offending God and that I was the one breaking His Law into a thousand pieces, things would have been completely different in my life, but I was the one destroying my own soul. I was the one unknowingly trampling under foot the blood of God's covenant through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus. I was the one overeating the fruit of my own ways, and I was the one simply reaping in life what I had sown. I did not know that the end of sin is death! I was not sick; I was simply making bad choices. I was unknowingly choosing "death" over "life."
I was disobedient in every way, and it seemed that the choices given unto me were always on the wrong side of morality. In other words, I only had "bad lessons" through the examples that were set before me.
I started seeing that life is much like that of sports. If I do not know the rules of the game because a coach did not take the time to teach me, my performance will be unruly and I'll end up losing the game.
They Are Proud
Communities around the country are proudly building their 50 million dollar detention centers. Where they are proud, they should be ashamed! Instead of giving youth the knowledge (rules to the game) that they need to magnify right choices in their lives, they give them treatment, counseling, medications, or even jail. Had the older generations (the coaches) taken the time to educate the youth by magnifying righteousness, teaching them right from wrong, and living by example, they would not have to spend money on the detention centers that we now have in our country. They could have gloried in the righteousness (the victories) that they had established; but instead, they are gloating in their shame because of their defeat.
A little love and knowledge would have shown them that prevention is better than cure.
I Was At War
My War was just that, until I saw through the Word of God that "by the Law is the knowledge of sin" (Romans 3:20). I was the one who was guilty before God. God gave us His knowledge for our instruction. It keeps us safe and on the right path. I did not know that His Word (the Bible) is the key that locks the door to him who came "to steal, and to kill and to destroy." His Word also gives a knowledge of the truth, which makes men free! You see, God through the Bible "instructs the foolish"; it is "a teacher of babes, which hast the form of knowledge and of the truth in the Law."
There were even times through this process that I felt as if I was at war with an unseen force, and little did I know, I really was!
Many young people today are on the same road that I was. It is a road filled with lawlessness that will only end in destruction. They are fighting the same battle that I had to fight because of their lack of knowledge, and while they are caught in the middle, they are simply looking for someone to show them the way that sets them free. As paradox as it might seem, obedience to the Law liberates you, while disobedience enslaves and confines you.
The Lord shows us His way in Deuteronomy 30:19-20; "I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live: That thou mayest love the Lord thy God, and that thou mayest obey His voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto Him: for He is thy life, and the length of thy days".
It's Like Burning The Flag
Look at what is being promoted to the youth 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through the media, government, education, home, and bad examples everywhere. Is it any wonder why there is so much lawlessness? Look at how un-American and immoral things have become. We know that our veterans did not leave this as their legacy. Think about it. Did the men and women who served our country in foreign wars fight, bleed and die to uphold what the immoral media pushes on the youth daily? No, they did not! Did they sacrifice themselves so that the youth could go to school 5 days a week to become indoctrinated by misinformation and propaganda? No, they did not! Did they sacrifice themselves in hopes that the family would be targeted and destroyed by outside forces through immorality by promoting adultery, divorce and domestic violence? No, they did not!
This kind of moral fallout is in truth dishonoring and desecrating the graves of those that died for us! In reality itís like burning the American flag!
My War is the story of just that. It was as if I was the one burning the American flag without knowing that I was doing it. I should have been honoring and magnifying the laws of the Constitution in which they died for - the laws that keep men free - but I wasn't. I should have been the one holding forth that beautiful red, white, and blue for all to see in its glory, but instead, I was doing the contrary. I was living my own lawless, unruly self-serving and un-thoughtful life. I was fraternizing with the enemy of my country and my God. I am ashamed for spending my earlier years trampling their blood under my feet. It should have been my highest duty to honor that for which they died, and to my shame, I did not!
I claimed to be an American, yet in action I was a traitor to its very cause.
Show Them the Price
I needed the knowledge to make the right choices for which men sacrificed, to sustain the life and liberty that was given to me.
Freedom was not given to men to do what they want to do, it was given to men to do what they ought to do.
Clearly, there is no honor in destroying the laws in which men died to uphold.
The answers came when I was brought to the foot of Arlington cemetery in Washington, D.C. and shown the price and sacrifice, which was purchased through the life and blood of millions of men and women. I saw for myself what they did for my freedom. They sacrificed "their lives for mine."
When I received that knowledge as to why the veterans paid the ultimate price, I sought to magnify and uphold the laws of our Constitution. I was so grateful for their sacrifice. This is why they died - to give me liberty. Then and only then did I obey from the heart and make the right choices.
Similarly, in spiritual matters, when I was driven to the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ by that Holy Law, His Ten Commandments (Exodus 20, Galatians 3:24), I then understood the price paid to cover my sins: His blood. This is called redemption. Then and only then was I grateful for His sacrifice. I then sought the knowledge to magnify God's Laws and to bring men unto Christ, which establishes His righteousness. Then I wanted to obey from the heart, for this is where men find the life that is in Christ Jesus, the Life Giver, and the Great Liberator.
In this country our freedoms are blood bought. We as a nation are redeemed through the blood of our veterans to ratify (make valid) our Constitution, the American covenant. This makes us Americans, and in a Christian nation we are redeemed through the blood of Christ to receive salvation (liberation from bondage, or sin), and to establish God's covenant in our hearts (a work of the Holy Spirit). This makes us, when received, Christians. Truly God has shed His Grace upon us, America.
The Youth Will Rise
It has been said that the youth will always rise to the level of expectation. This is true, but it can only be done by the grace that God bestows upon us in Jesus Christ. Give them the knowledge, show them the price, and they will catch the heart.
My War is the story of my life. My War is not a story of playing the blame game. This is not a story to show you how bad I was, but to show you how good God is in Jesus Christ. He is merciful. It is my testimony of a slow awakening, a realization of my own need to respond to the Holy Spirit's conviction of my sin and to the reception of God's sure mercies.
My War is not about losing the war, but winning the war through the blood, grace and knowledge of Christ Jesus, the true "Man of War." It's about how the Lord brought me through, by knowledge, to overcome my obstacles and to be made more than a conqueror through Him that loved me by His grace. He gave me the heart to reach for that level of expectation in which He died for. He did the dying so I could, by His Holy Spirit, do the living unto His honor.
My War is your victory! To my generation of youth, I serve you with my heart. My loss is your gain. Here are my wounds, which can prevent yours. I'll meet you at the cross.
With truth in love,