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No Greater Love

Their stories were deeply tragic and inspirational. As we stared at the photos of over half a dozen young Army men on a printed handout, the gravity of their lives lost in Vietnam was palpably present in the restaurant where we were having lunch. As Memorial Day approached, Dick McBain, fellow Warriors and author of A Reluctant Warrior's Vietnam Combat Memories, told us about the lives, courage, and sacrifice of men he had fought alongside as they lost their lives fighting for freedom. Many of these fallen heroes were shot or even blown up while covering or protecting their fellow soldiers.

Survivor’s guilt can easily set in when we’ve lost friends, family, and loved ones to war or other tragic circumstances. Jesus exhorts us to another response: survivor’s responsibility. In the center of his instructions and commandments on how to live out our survivor’s responsibility, Jesus defines the epitome of sacrificial love:

Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends. John 15:13

Jesus modeled this love and asks us to do the same. This means not only preferring, forgiving, and honoring one another but also being those who loved not their life even unto death.” Rev 12:11. We honor Jesus and all those who gave their lives for our freedom when we:

  • Keep His Commandment to Love 

“If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love . . . This is My commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you . . . You are My friends if you do whatever I command you.” John 15:10,12,14

The Beatles, though dramatically deficient in their understanding of love, had it right when they said, “All You Need is Love.”  

A self-righteous, un-loving, legalistic Pharisee tried to trap Jesus by asking, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”  Jesus said,

“‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself [that is, unselfishly seek the best or higher good for others].’ The whole Law and the [writings of the] Prophets depend on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40

  • Serve Others in Love

For you, my brothers, were called to freedom; only do not let your freedom become an opportunity for the sinful nature (worldliness, selfishness), but through love serve and seek the best for one another. Gal 5:13 AMP

The men and women who gave their lives in service to our country put our best interest ahead of their own. The Bible tells us:

Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. Phil 2:4

In the last sentence of the Declaration of Independence, our founding fathers declared with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.” 

In the Revolutionary War, soldiers fought an external enemy to gain freedom from tyranny. In the Civil War, soldiers fought an internal enemy to keep our country intact. Today, in the third great existential battle for our country, we are Kingdom Warriors, fighting both external and internal forces to preserve our country as “one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” 

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