Friday, March 4, 2016

Honoring Our Heroes

A Navy SEAL, Senior Chief Special Warfare Operator Edward Byers, Jr., was awarded the Medal of Honor recently for his participation in the rescue of an American being held hostage in Afghanistan. He entered the Navy when he was only 19 years old. At 33, he charged into combat against men wielding AK-47's to rescue an American physician who had been abducted by the Taliban.

Byers entered a combat zone, engaged in hand-to-hand combat with armed Taliban members, found the hostage, and covered the doctor with his own body to save him during the battle that ensued.

The rescue was in December, 2012. More than three years later, Chief Byers received the highest military honor for his heroism.

I wept when I read the story of his heroic actions, and I'm thrilled that he was honored in such a significant way. I wondered why it took us so long to recognize him until I read the story of Private Henry Johnson, who, while wounded and armed only with a knife, held off a raiding party of 12 German soldiers and managed to rescue his fellow soldier who being taken prisoner by the Germans. He was 21 years old.

Private Johnson's heroic deeds were performed in 1918. Nearly a century later, we finally honored him with the Medal of Honor. I don't know why his honor was delayed, but, on behalf of our country, I apologize to him and his family. 

There's something wrong with our society when we celebrate the sin of so-called celebrities, yet wait a century to celebrate the heroism of young men willing to die for us. 

When a man willingly offers his life for another, it matters. 

It behooves us to acknowledge it. To appreciate it.

We don't take that kind of sacrifice seriously enough. If we did, we wouldn't wait one hundred years to say thank you. We wouldn't wait three years to say thank you. We'd take care of our veterans and honor them for their sacrifice on our behalf.

An even greater sacrifice has been made on our behalf, and I fear we don't take that sacrifice seriously enough, either. 

God's only Son wrapped Himself in flesh, dwelt among us, took our sin and died for us, then rose again. It was the ultimate sacrifice and we have the opportunity to express our gratitude every day. We honor Him by the way we choose to live. 

I look at my life and have to wonder how well I say thank you to Jesus for His sacrifice. I am grateful. Deeply so. 

Today, let's choose to live in such a way that those around us can see our gratitude and recognize the honor we give Him.

Heroes deserve our thanks, and none more so than the Lord Jesus Himself. 

"Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends." 
John 15:13 nasb

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#ChiefEdwardByers #PrivateHenryJohnson #medalofhonor #laydownhislifeforhisfriends #heroes #JesusChrist #linesfromleanna #LeannaHollis