Monday, August 15, 2005

The Value of Sacrifice

I'll take a break from detailing my notes from Venezuela for a post. There will be more ...

Cindy Sheehan has been protesting against the war. This has reached national media after the advent of her son's death in Iraq (she has been protesting for some time now). Her son volunteered for a duty that could place him in harm's way. He fell as part of an effort to secure, not simply Iraq, but the US. How does the fighting in Iraq secure the US? It has been drawing terrorists from around the world, focusing the heat of the war on terror to a location that is away from the US mainland where the US military can face the heat of the fire from the terrorists. This keeps US citizens safe in their homes and reduces the number of terrorists that can sneak into the US.

The particulars of military strategy and foreign policy aside, the sacrifice of Casey Sheehan is worth something. That value is the collective life of the people of the USA: not just that we live, but that we live free. It isn't quantifiable: it is priceless. Nevertheless, the value can be degraded if the effect is denied. Cindy is degrading the value of her son's death by denying that the US ought to be defended or that our action in Iraq has any impact on the defense of the US.

Liberal "Christians" like to invoke the "love of Christ" in endorsing the sin of the unrepentant. "Why can't we just LOVE the homosexuals or the abortionists or witches and satanists? If they want to be church leaders, we should welcome them with open arms." The word in the Bible used to talk about the "love" of Christ is "agape" (an English transliteration of a Greek word pronounced "ah-GAH-pee"). The word is rarely used in ancient Greek literature. Homer uses it to describe Odysseus' return to Ithaca and Plato used it abstractly. It has been suggested that the word originally referred to a sort of patriotism. It is clear in John 15 that Jesus used it to indicate sacrificial love in juxtaposition against the Greek word for "familial love" (phileo).

Just as Casey Sheehan gave the ultimate sacrifice in an act of patriotism, Christ gave His life as a sacrifice in an act of justification. Was this justification for the condoning of sin? That's not justification. Justification is the payment for sin because sin is worth something: death. And this is not just the death of an individual, but the death of every citizen of the Kingdom of God because the death of any citizen of the Kingdom of God means the separation of that citizen from the King. To condone sin is to say that sin is not worth death. This is to say that the death of Christ has no value.

Casey Sheehan didn't die in vain... neither did Christ. The difference is that Christ rose from the dead. For this reason we honor Casey (and all others who have willing gone in harms way for our nation) and grieve for his mother who doesn't recognize her son's worth. She protests with the freedom her son bought for her with his life.


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