There are some things that really matter in life. There are times in a persons life when politics, patriotism, service of one kind or another and even work seem to be all important but as you get older you realize there are some things that take a precedence over everything else and are as important as breathing.
I think the greatest of these life needs is love. I am not talking about the lust of sex but the love of a man for his wife and vice versa. I am talking about the love of a parent for their children or grandchildren. The times when we just hold each other and experience the energy of oneness. There is no emptiness like the loneliness of being alone in the world. There is no one as vulnerable as the one who feels they are unloved.
There is no sense of personal accomplishment as great as what you experience when you reach out to someone in true caring. No material gain can match the feeling you experience when you realize you have filled someone’s personal need. This tells me that a persons greatest accomplishments and most grandiose moments are when we are fulfilling someone else’s needs.
This does not mean we can be like the monk who ignores pain and suffering and locks themselves behind the doors of a monastery while the world goes to hell. We are a nation of freedom loving people. This freedom is a light that shines into the darkness of dictatorships the world over. Those who support those things hate the light of Christianity, democracy and freedom. To borrow the words of Jesus Christ who was specifically talking about the good news of the Gospel, said; Luke 11:33 "No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead he puts it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light."
Over two hundred years ago a lamp of freedom was lit and that light has shown through the darkness of oppression the world over. That light was hope to hopeless people. The numbers of those who have come through Ellis Island to carve out a life in this land of the free are uncountable. Some found wealth and happiness that was unbelievable. Others found the peaceful simplicity of living free.
There has to be government. Our way of life has to be defended. Our way of life itself demands that we try to extend the freedom and democracy we take for granted to all people and sacrifice as a people to deliver others from oppression and domination by evil. The goal of America should be to extend peace and freedom to all people the world over. The outreach of America must be the hand of peace and friendship.
There are two powers that we must possess to survive as a people. We must have the power to overcome any enemy who would trample and subdue us and destroy our way of life. Freedoms light cannot be extinguished, not by power hungry tyrants using armies or mindless religious fanatics who use the yoke of bondage to subdue people to their whims.
We must never allow ourselves to be lulled into the sleepy state of do nothing while our enemies plan the destruction of our way of life. Leaving our children freedom is the greatest gift we can give them.
Second, we must always have and exhibit the power of love and friendship. Neither of these qualities means that we must be soft to our enemies. It does mean that when our enemies are subdued and defeated, we must extend the hand of true friendship to the people who have lived under the yoke of horrendous bondage for more years than many of us are alive. This act of friendship will demand a different kind of sacrifice than our brave soldiers have been called upon to give. It will demand we be capable of putting behind personal loss.
Just like the gift of freedom for us cost our forefathers more than we can possibly imagine, purchasing the freedom of people like the Iraqi’s has a high price tag on our generation. Just like Americans were called upon to bury the hurt experienced by loved ones under the Germans and the Japanese. When the war in Iraq is over it will be time for our generation, like those before us, to learn what it means to “Love your enemies”. Matthew 5:44 "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you."
Love is all-powerful. The love of God is above all that the most spiritual person could possibly understand. That is why we just have to accept his love by faith, believing what to our carnal mind is the impossible. We cannot expect for these people who have lived in the most horrible bondage we could imagine to understand the why’s about what America is doing for them. Let us hope they embrace their hard won freedom. The price is so high. I hope they will embrace this newfound freedom and they too will be a light shining in a dark area of this world. This alone will make the sacrifice of so many so worthwhile. Maybe then, they too will learn what it means to “love your enemies”.