Monday, May 28, 2012

Sacrifice





I have always been impressed by people in the military. Their sense of duty and allegiance to honor their country as well as support each other is so admirable. The more I interview them for my third book, the more I respect them. Having so many new friends in their 90s, retired WWII veterans, I find this Memorial Day of greater significance than I have in the past.

I was walking with a dear friend from China yesterday and we were talking a little about a difference between American and Chinese families. She was somewhat aghast that American children do not grow up and then support their parents. She said she and all her siblings send money to her widowed mother. It would be unthinkable in her culture to do otherwise. I suspect that in American culture, it would be unthinkable to the kids that they should support their folks. She said the Chinese honor and revere their old. I would not trade America for China, but in that respect, I believe the Chinese have it right.

Sacrifice, duty, the needs of the many more important than the needs of *me*...that is so alien to us nowadays. I keep returning to that theme in my writing and my experiences these days. I was born into the "me" generation- the spoiled pack of baby boomers who had everything handed to them on a silver platter. We were taught "I just gotta be me" , and that individuality was the most important aspect of life. I bought all that. I lived it. But the older I get, the more I find that community matters more, that the people I am drawn to and respect are those who put the needs of others before their own. I have come to this realization slowly, and it has changed my outlook on many things in life. I have grown to detest selfishness, at least in everyone else, and honor selfless, sacrificial love wherever I can find it. It is not on every corner, as one might hope. Most of us would rather justify our selfishness rather than bury it for the abominable filth that it is.

Jesus is my hero. He is the epitome of selfless love. He is my model. I know I fall far short of mimicking His example, but His sacrificial devotion to us, to me, is what I strive for. And all those brave soldiers out there, fighting for my country, for my freedoms...they are standing right next to Him in my list of heroes.

Happy Memorial Day.

1 John 2:1-12, 23-25, 28
My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. We know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did. Dear friends, I am not writing you a new command but an old one, which you have had since the beginning. This old command is the message you have heard. Yet I am writing you a new command; its truth is seen in him and in you, because the darkness is passing and the true light is already shining. Anyone who claims to be in the light but hates a brother or sister is still in the darkness. Anyone who loves their brother and sister lives in the light, and there is nothing in them to make them stumble. But anyone who hates a brother or sister is in the darkness and walks around in the darkness. They do not know where they are going, because the darkness has blinded them. I am writing to you, dear children,
because your sins have been forgiven on account of his name. No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also. As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. And this is what he promised us—eternal life. And now, dear children, continue in him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at his coming.






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