Points to Ponder: Veterans: Models of principle
Points to Ponder
Veterans: Models of principle
We gave our todays
so that you might have your tomorrows.
So reads the sign near the entrance to a cemetery on Okinawa. Thousands of our young military heroes fought there during World War II. Many did not come home.
As we honor Veterans Day this year, we should reflect upon all the evil possibilities that never came to be because of the dedicated veterans who put themselves between our enemies and us. Countless times our heroes are anonymous, behind the scenes, and never honored. The essence of their duty requires self-denial, because the principles for which our nation stands are bigger than ourselves. And so the veteran stands willing to die if preserving the principle, saving a life, or protecting a friend requires it.
Though some would like to edit our nation's history, it's simply a fact that our founders believed in the Sovereign God. Many, from Christopher (which means Christ-bearer) Columbus onward believed in Jesus Christ and that God blessed our ancestors and enabled them to found this great country. The principles on which the U.S.A was founded and for which devoted military men and women will fight to the death, are based on our faith in Almighty God. From the Mayflower Compact, to the Declaration of Independence, to the U.S. Constitution, to the constitutions of the original 13 states, we look to God as our Providence.
"Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord" (Psalm 33:12a).
Jesus said, "Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends" (John 15:13). We think of terms like courage, duty, and service when referring to the military. But have you ever considered the love that compels these men and women? Many thousands have given their lives, not just for their friends, but for millions of fellow citizens they never met. Some have died in recent wars for people in other nations who don't even like them. The highest form of love is the commitment of one soul for the good of another, even to the point of death. Jesus is the ultimate example of this love. He told His disciples to love others in that way.
I was at North High when the Kansas group came to "protest." They were hateful, dancing on and spitting on American flags. Numerous law enforcement officers (no doubt some were veterans) protected them. Another group of Vietnam vets on motorcycles revved their engines to counter the groups' singing; but none raised a fist, a weapon, or even an angry voice. Our town and state rallied to protect the rights of this small group of offensive people. We watched these smiling hecklers enjoying what they were doing to the American flag, flaunting their protections in the face of so many who wore a uniform to defend those protections. Their restraint was an act of love for these who would wish them dead.
Men and women lived and died for the principles which that flag represents. I wondered how the motorcycle guys felt. Certainly they'd be outraged by the disrespect being shown to the flag, I thought. But none of them took the bait and yelled back at the protestors. The veterans are the men and women who are on the front line of keeping our principles intact, even if it means defending the idiots in our land who flaunt them.
Jesus said, "...whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also." To kick and spit on the flag, smiling and enjoying themselves, they slapped those vets. But I thought they effectively turned the other cheek; no counter attack. In their moment of self-restraint, they took the hit and stood tall once again. That's what being one nation under God is all about; doing right because it's right, even if you have to die doing it. That which glorifies God lives on and prevails.
"Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse ... Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men ... Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good" (Romans 12:14, 17-18, and 21).
Points to Ponder is a series of occasional articles written by Rev. Dennis Whitmore, Pastor of Hilltop Christian Fellowship, 12624 Trinity Church Drive, Clear Spring, MD (1/4 mile east of Clear Spring on Rt. 40). Listen to Pastor Dennis on WJEJ-1240 AM, Tues and Thurs, at 10:45am and 7:50pm, both days. www.hilltopchristianfellowship.com.