This is Memorial Day weekend, the day following being Memorial Day. A lot of folk on the Memorial Day Monday go to cemeteries and pay respect to the deceased, those who have fallen in service to our country; in my view this is appropriate. Others have different approaches. Whether one is engaged in this or that approach, the memory and/or reflection given to what some gave up for each of us (our liberty) is still done.
I am not sympathetic to pacifists. I respect their way of thinking and will defer to them in many areas of life (similar to that which I do in relation to others), but I am not sympathetic to people who regard pacifism as a higher moral ground than one who is not a pacifist. I am not a pacifist and will never be one. You come into my house uninvited and at an hour when you have no good reason to be there, then I will react strongly, even violently. I will protect that which the Lord has given me, or die making the effort.
I am reminded of these things for two reasons: first, the weekend upon on; second, the book by Dwight D Eisenhower “Crusade in Europe.” He tells of the pitiful state of the U.S. Military just before the Second War (1939-1945), how unprepared we as a country was for the pending war. We were not a pacifist country at the time, but the general trend of thinking was for us not to be engaged in a war in another part of the world. We were not pacifist, but we acted as if we were. The Great War (WW-I) was so destructive of many things, people had no stomach for anything similar, so it is readily and easily understood why many in our country were overly reluctant to be involved in another war. Because we were and because we adopted a “don’t-spend-to-modernize-the-military,” our capability to fight off an attack was woefully lacking and any ability to help the ones engaged in defending their own home was similar.
Because not all in society were pacifists (some few were), when the time came to call men to honor, that is, defend their homeland and the innocent lives of others, in short order millions signed up ready to take up arms and millions more enrolled to support those who did. No one in the world was as capable as our country to do such a thing as we did.
Yes, on this occasion, pacifist ideology respected, I think it is proper to honor those who served our country, and even those who serve in today’s military. More than that, however. I think it is proper to honor all those who serve our country and our community in service-oriented work and I have especially in mind with these words our law-enforcement community (LE). So many disrespect them because of a victimhood mentality, a distorted view of how life should be and how it currently is. The LE must take up arms to defend and protect the innocent, and I can do nothing but respect the vocation.
Not to be out-shone at all, but to be elevated to the highest pedestal available are those who take up the armor of God. In its own right, a far greater battle in which each is engaged (cf. 1 Peter 2:11). When one takes up the armor of God, he (she) can no longer take up his personal way of thinking and engage an enemy; instead, one must take up a new way of thinking and engage the enemy within (cf. Gal. 2:20). Satan is a mighty powerful foe, a foe so strong there is no chance we will be victorious if we engage him on our own terms. In fact, Satan desires that we think we can. He never loses!
There were many who did not fail the Lord; instead, they took up the arms of faith and engaged the adversary of man, coming out victorious. Their victory was not in material or fleshly terms. The Holy Spirit giving us exhortations that we should pattern ourselves after the faith they lived (Hebrews 12:1-2).
Consider Joseph for a moment. A young man who, evidently, thought more of himself in an area or two than he should have, was a favorite of his father Jacob, but had brothers stand opposed to him strongly. Due to experiences in life he was taught powerful lessons, but he suffered greatly. In the many years of separation from his family, perhaps he thought initially that he did nothing wrong. He had to learn to lean upon something. He chose to lean upon the Lord. Unbeknownst to Joseph, the Lord had plans to use him in greater service to a larger group of people. Joseph learned this much later in life, and when he did, he looked upon the deeds of his and his brother’s experiences much differently than, perhaps, he thought he would—certainly not as harshly as his brothers thought he would.
Saints like Joseph, Abraham, Deborah, Esther, Paul, Peter, all living in dissimilar circumstances, but who took up the armor of God. On this Memorial Day weekend, let us remember those who serve the Lord, and those who serve and have served this country. RT