Sunday, November 11, 2007

The True Cost of Freedom

Quite appropriately, many of us have paused to remember our veterans today. Like everything in life, that's a choice we all make for ourselves. Remembrance Day is all around us: in the press, in the hearts of those who've lost and will lose, and especially in the hearts of the fallen. It's disgustingly easy to get wrapped into the volatile political debates spawned by every war in history, so let us be out with a very important point upon which I am not like to budge: war is unjustified. Never has the world been host to a motivation that warrants one to raise arms against another. But it happens.

I've toiled with this issue since I first saw bleak images on tv, veiled behind a green tint (as they were taken at night), during the Gulf War in the early 1990s. I knew very little about the cumulative and hostile circumstances that led the allies to the Middle East, but I knew in my heart of hearts that it is not a sin to die, and it is a sin to kill. Having been raised a Christian, I identified with the victims more than the aggressors. Would it not make sense for all the good people of the world to lay down their swords and be stricken dead in one fell swoop than to commit acts, albeit in self-defence, against the very clear commandments God handed down to us? At the time, this drove a wedge between my intellectual Christian self, and my heart's sentiment that the innocent are worth protecting and God hadn't created us to be bugs beneath the boots of evil. That's also why I'm proud to inhabit a peacekeeping nation, not one that lies in bed with the enemy. But I digress on that one.

I spoke above about choices, and there are some very important ones that creep into mind on days like this one. The subject of war is a universally poignant one, especially where so many opportunists and maurauders try to augment their agendas by splicing them with the name of God. Here's where I lack scriptural supplements, so let it be understood that I speak purely through my heart when I say the following: God never chooses war. Wrath can be a vehicle for justice, and God always chooses justice, but He is never the first assault; in every Biblical instance I've encountered thus far, sin invariably precedes God's aggression. Think back on every film or show or book you've read; unanimously, evil is always granted the benefit of the first attack. Think about the exploitive implications of that. Even in God's omnipotence, i.e. His awareness of who will commit what acts, He allows us to exercise our free will. That is the only way we might be judged fairly, and it is proof that those who initiate war have never acted in accordance with His will. As to those who respond, it's not the same. To protect in the name of God is not a crime.

So then, I venture a question. How important is it to you, personally, to find what you're meant to? Some of you will respond by saying there are no grand truths, no ultimate purposes for any of us, that the world is just hurdling through space and will collapse into the dust that formed it. Through Christ and pure science, this has been, in my humble opinion, proven gravely false. To the believers who try to live well but never commit to the will of Christ, why is it that you try to cherry pick which facets of salvation work for you? Like perfection, sin, completeness, and many other esoteric principles, there is no partiality. It's all or none, even though many of us embody neither extreme. While I maintain an effort to live entirely for God, I do understand that I will fall into pits along the way. But my effort must remain uncompromised. It's the sins that I knowingly commit that cause me the most grief. But regardless of these things, if you have the slightest understand of what implications and outcomes result from your choices, are you really willing to be led by the blind? Is God so insignificant to you that you would fixate on human distortions of Him instead of living for a relationship, He and you, which completely transcends any earthly influence?

Why does war exist? Evil needs it to, not God.

Thank you to those who have given us all our freedom. We might bicker about the transcendant reasons for which they offered themselves, but I trust that the lives they've laid down have been replaced with far better ones. If our bodies are made of earthly substances, worth a pittance in a cosmic sense, and God offers us a mint in exchange for a penny, who are the true victims, those who accept or those who decline?

As a complex being, I once assumed the truth, too, was complex. The genuinely good and wholesome feeling I get from serving God is perhaps too simple for me to describe, and that's why I falter when I try. It is very simply a form of freedom that no prison cell or enemy could purge from me. How silly that it was there the whole time, that my gaze had always been projected outward. But I know these things now. I know that the true cost of freedom is oneself, and by surrendering it do we reap eternal dividends. You all have the answers within you.


Blogger Slave Morality said...

Once again your post brings up a hard point to reconcile in my mind. Thou shalt not kill, and yet I'm quite certain there are passages in the Old Testament when God quite clearly commands his people to go to war. (I'll have to look them up but I'm quite sure they're there)

12/11/07 14:19  

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