who are we serving…? for there can only be one.

In Uncategorized on November 11, 2009 at 10:23 pm

I struggle with Veteran’s Day. My heart and my mind go in so many directions with it. My biggest problem is the way I see people idolize the men and women who wear the uniform. We worship these people. We highlight all their sacrifices and overlook the other side of those sacrifices throughout the world…countries destroyed, millions of deaths, street violence, violence against women, nuclear bombs, starvation, poverty, the list goes on. As a Christian I feel that it is truly wrong to worship anyone or anything except for God. Even if it was not, do we truly think that God would want us to worship those who make war? Some would call it making the peace and to them I would reply that the Prince of peace has already shown us how to do that…and it involves putting down your sword and accepting the cross. In idolizing our military we idolize its mission and this nation. Neither of which deserve any great praise. Prayer would be much more in order. My understanding of the military through family and friends who have served has led me to believe that serving in the military and serving Christ are often incongruent. I know this is a statement that will upset many people; after all I know plenty of Christians in the military. However I do not believe that one can be a Christian and follow the commands of the military that will order you to do things that go against the word of God. When you are handed a gun and told to fire on the enemy how do you reconcile that with Jesus telling us we are to love our enemies? How can we drop bombs on a people who the Bible tells us is part of God’s family? How can we refuse to show grace to those terrorists or nations who have done us wrong when we, like Judas, have all betrayed Jesus at some point or another and have yet been forgiven? At its most basic level joining the military means pledging your allegiance to America. Once again the topic of idolatry comes up. We only have one king and he/she is the only one I feel Christians can pledge their allegiance to. Perhaps one day in heaven Jesus will show me that I was wrong about this…but so far the spirit has not thus borne witness within me.

So this is what Veteran’s Day is about to me,

it is a day of prayer for our brokenness and awareness for our world.  I do believe that many men and women who join the military do so with good hearts hoping to do something noble. I also know that many people join because they are poor, and after being specifically targeted by military recruiters they join out of economic need and a desire to make it to college some day. I also know that military culture is often very lacking in grace and that in and of itself hurts many people. Women, people who are gay, and faith minorities are often discrimated against or worse. Tragically these wars that are profiting a small group of people are doing huge harm to thousands upon thousands of precious Americans. Soldiers are coming home with physical and more so psychological scars that will follow them for decades. As PTSD increases so does substance abuse and suicide. Veterans are killing their wives as their minds break down. Huge numbers of families are falling apart as husbands or wives face one deployment after another and consequently divorce. And I am not sure that this even does justice to the true reality of what people are facing.

When I think about these things I am filled with  anger towards those who deceived us into these wars that are hurting so many. More of my anger is directed towards Satan who I know rejoices in this deceit that reigns down destruction on God’s beloved creation, us. In the midst of these emotions though I try to always  remember Jesus’ message as the government was executing him…”forgive them Father for they do not know what they do”. And so I try to make my prayer similar.

Forgive them Father, help me forgive them. Help the soldiers to forgive them. Help us all forgive our enemies. O Lord help the people of Iraq and Afghanistan forgive us. Show me how I can share your love with those in the military. Show me how I can spread your love. Make your people aware of the toll these wars are taking on these precious men and women. Please make ways for soldiers to get the mental health help that they need. Please make more ways for soldiers to refuse combat and multiple deployments. Stop these soldiers from ending up living in the alleys of our towns, in the woods, and in the other invisible places. They are not invisible to you…may those in need not be invisible to us either. Truly we look forward to the day when nations will not raise up sword against nation. May we learn to farm together instead and worship you. For you Lord are the only one worthy of our worship and allegiance. May your kingdom come Lord and may it come quickly.


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