Back in July of 1992, a beautiful young woman gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Eight pounds, thirteen ounces and twenty-two inches long surely foretold that he would grow to be a big one. His parents named him Bobby, after an old family acquaintance. Bobby was an only child. His mother, thought originally to be barren, was blessed to carry and deliver him full-term. Bobby grew quickly in stature as well as in personality and maturity in his early years. He loved his mother and father generously and would find great joy in playing pranks on them both quite often. His mother stayed home with him, tending to household chores and giving her devoted attention to Bobby’s every need (and even most of his requests). His father was a proud soldier, having served in the military since his eighteenth birthday. He served as his father and grandfather had before him. He grew up hearing many tall tales of combat and attacks from the enemy that had attempted to infiltrate their land. He had always quietly hoped to pass this honor on to Bobby as well, one day, should he so choose.
Bobby attended school and loved to read. He was quite the little artist too as he’d often be found scribbling animals and stick people on any scraps of paper that he could find. He’d play with the few worn army men figurines that he had handed down to him. He’d build forts and go away to far-away lands, all in his imagination of course. As he grew older, Bobby maintained his close relationship with his parents. He always chose to stay close and be mindful of his parent’s wishes, even when his friends grew into their wild streaks. He was always obedient and determined to finish his last years of school. As his eighteenth birthday approached and graduation was nearing, he went out for the day with his father, as they often did. As they sat together that day, his father reflected back on how Bobby was not even expected to be conceived all the way through the present day, now a young man. His dad spoke of how his mother radiated the day that it was confirmed that she was pregnant with him. Bobby smiled.
As they continued to talk about the experiences and trials of life that they had known together, Bobby began to interject, “Dad, I want to tell you something. I’ve decided that I want to be like you and granddad. I want to be in the military and stand up for our family and country.” As Bobby looked up at his father’s face, he could see tears beginning to slowly stream down his cheek. “Son,” he said as he stood to his feet. “I consider it an honor for you, my flesh and blood to make such a brave and honorable decision.” As they embraced, it was if time stood still. Bobby had surely grown into a man this day. It was a memorable day for them, a glorious day.
Within the next several months, Bobby would train relentlessly. He attended camps and preparatory rigors that would prepare him for whatever may lie ahead. By year’s end, as if it was on a scheduled timetable, the nation faced an attack on their borders and Bobby’s battalion was called into action. Bobby willingly volunteered to be on the front lines, when asked, and was set to face the initial assault from the enemy. He embraced this privilege to stand up and defend his country and all that he had ever known as a way of life. He had become a proud soldier, just as so many who had laid down their lives before him. His parents, although hesitant of his stepping into harm’s way so boldly, counted it an honor to have their own son take such an admirable stand on behalf of their country.
As the battle began, Bobby ran into action without any fear or hesitation. He faced the bullets and missiles of the infiltrators head-on. As the battle became instantly intense, he dodged and moved swiftly into a large line of brush, lying flat on the ground and completely still. After spending several moments assessing that it was safe to move further ahead, he quickly rose to his feet and turned to his left. As he turned, the barrel of an enemy rifle was forcefully pushed into his young face. His body was instantly frozen, at a complete loss of what to do in this moment. Only mere seconds passed but it seemed like hours as his training kicked in and he began to raise his gun to fire several rounds at the enemy beside him. Before he could pull the trigger, three bullets penetrated Bobby’s skull and exited the other side of his head. He fell to the ground bleeding, maimed, lifeless. In those immeasurable milliseconds in between life and death, Bobby’s brain fired memories from his short time on this earth. He saw his father teaching him how to hold a gun. He saw moments playing kickball with his classmates in school. His last memory that raced by was of his mother, holding him tightly and kissing his head when he was five. Bobby’s body lay motionless on the hard ground, spent of breath and existence.
By the time the enemy’s army moved further down the territory lines later that afternoon, Bobby’s mother and father had received word that Bobby had been killed in the very first wave of combat. As they scoured the war-torn land, turning over countless bodies of young men from both armies, they looked for Bobby with tear-filled eyes. After several hours, Bobby’s father heard a recognizable scream as his wife called out to him from about thirty yards away, beside the brush line. He knew that she had found Bobby. As Bobby’s father walked over, friends were called over to take Bobby’s bloody and flaccid body back into town. As they entered the village together, they lamented, they mourned. Bobby had died an honorable death in the eyes of his friends and family. His name would always be recognized throughout the town in the days ahead. Bobby, the fearless one who stood for his family and country… until death. But, in this moment, that just didn’t seem to matter. This young man, barely beginning to live a life on his own, had, in one small moment in time, been removed from this earth - dead at eighteen as he honorably laid down his life for his country.
You likely have a vivid picture in your mind of what just played out in the previous paragraphs. I would also presume that I could pretty accurately portray what it looks like. If this short, fictional tale moved you, I have some questions to pose. Would it change things for you if Bobby was an Iraqi boy whose real name was Hassan? Would you cast it all aside as ridiculous if his family and friends that you likely felt compassion for are considered by the majority to be your repulsive, animalistic and vile enemy? Would you be less moved, or perhaps even appalled at the idea that the “enemy” within this story was an American soldier, simply carrying out his orders to infiltrate and attack a Middle-Eastern village on a mission to establish peace and freedom? I know full well that this is offensive… it should be.
My point of this piece is simple, we must see ALL as ones created in the beautiful image of God, with ABSOLUTELY NO EXCEPTIONS. If we continue to promote the “eye for an eye” mentality, this Nation is absolutely no different than those who They seek so tirelessly to eradicate. May the LORD open blinded eyes to see that this great Nation is part of a global existence. We are not somehow God’s elect given the privilege to execute all that we deem as right, without consideration for the lives of each and every individual created for the exact same existence as we. All of this is about perspective. We stand for what we deem as right and just in our own eyes and so do other nations. All move and act out of their own desires and convictions, resulting in constant conflict. Until we see all men as our brothers in Creation, longing first and foremost for them to know the awesome God of this Universe, we’re doomed to remain housed in our arrogant, vengeance-fueled kingdoms of this world. May we not continue to grow increasingly cold and callous to senseless killing and wars. Jesus, come quickly.