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Beneath a large tree in Arlington National Cemetery, I found this group of Unknowns. Soldiers who made the ultimate sacrifice, but are known only to God. Honoring men like these is what Memorial Day is about.
I walked a bit further and found more Unknowns. It just stunned me I guess. So many men that didn’t go home to their families. So many families who never knew what happened to their sons, brothers, and husbands. It’s truly heartwrenching.
Then in pouring rain…I mean so hard that there were rivers in the streets…I see some wonderful people stopping to read every name and then placing a rose on every grave. They were in many sections as I walked through the cemetery.
It just touched my heart to know that every sacrifice would be acknowledged and grave a rose.
I also watched the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown. The honor. The respect. These days, it’s rare to see. Moving beyond words to see it given to those who died anonymously in service to their nation. Our nation.
Point to ponder while you wander…Memorial Day is about honoring those who gave their lives in service to our nation. Veteran’s Day is about honring and respecting those living who have served.
We, humans in general, make things so complicated and convoluted. But God keeps things simple. Yes there are 613 laws in the Old Testament, but Jesus Himself says that every law is based in two simple all encompassing things:
“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, ‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:36-40 NLT
Why should you reimburse a neighbor for killing or injuring their livestock? Because it’s the right thing to do based on the law of love.
Why shouldn’t you commit adultery? Because the law of love invites you to do the right thing and honor & respect your spouse.
Not complicated. Is it?
Paul repeated it in His letter to the Galatians in regards to true freedom…
“For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don’t use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ But if you are always biting and devouring one another, watch out! Beware of destroying one another.” Galatians 5:13-15 NLT
Point to ponder while you wander…God does ask us to give things up, and let things go so He can help us grow up and walk with maturity in what He has for us. But He doesn’t require us to literally sacrifice anyone or anything. What He requires is simple and straight forward:
”Should we offer Him thousands of rams & ten thousand rivers of olive oil? Should we sacrifice our firstborn children to pay for our sins? No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good & this is what He requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:7-8
“Love does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” I Corinthians 13:5
Love does not dishonor others. The word for dishonor can also be translated unseemingly or unbecomingly. It refers to someone who does not regard the thoughts or feelings of others. It can refer to someone who doesn’t give a crap about anyone else’s thoughts or feelings they just do and say what they want. It includes how they talk to and how they treat others. It brings to mind users and abusers of any kind.
The only other time in the entire NT this word is used is I Corinthians 7:36 where Paul tells men to act honorably toward their fiancées. Telling them to marry them rather than to dishonor them. “But if any man thinks he is behaving improperly toward his virgin,”
If love doesn’t dishonor people it must honor people. Right? Right! What does honor mean? Honor means honesty, fairness, sincerity or integrity. Giving someone honor refers to showing them high respect or to giving a courteous regard for them. It’s doing the right thing, because it’s the right thing.
What does honor look like? Giving honor to people is simple because it’s just treating others respectfully and living with integrity. Holding doors open. Not interrupting. Not texting or taking phone calls when you’re at lunch with someone. It’s letting people out in front of you on the road. Honor is keeping your word and showing up on time. Honor is using your manners and saying please and thank you. It’s standing in respect and removing your hat for our National Anthem. It’s respecting your elders and thanking veterans for their service.
By giving honor and showing respect, you are in fact loving people. Simple Right?
Pastor Dino on Honor: http://vimeo.com/68003954
STP (Something to Ponder)…The first commandment from God with a promise attached is found in Exodus 20:12, “Honor your mother and your father, so that you may live long in the land the Lord God is giving you.” God linked a long life with honoring your parents. Hmmmm.