Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Carry Each Other's Burdens, Never Leave a Comrade Behind

"When the fifth stanza of the [U.S. Army] Ranger Creed promises, 'I will never leave a fallen comrade,' it doesn't qualify the statement with 'unless it's his own fault.' The front line is never the place to ask the wounded soldier why it happened. The only thing that matters at the time is safeguarding the wounded man and getting him treated. In the church, however, we often have the tendency to point the finger at someone right away. Shouldn't soldiers in God's army be at least as willing to stick by each other when times get tough, regardless of who's at fault?

"By unearthing my own motives in this situation, I was getting a glimpse of why people who judge Christianity by the actions of its followers might sometimes find themselves turned off by believers' self-righteous, superior attitudes. It made me wince to think about it. How many souls would spend eternity apart from God because of a callous attitude or thoughtless word?

"After all, I thought, isn't it the stragglers who most need patience and understanding? Why do we Christians sometimes have a tendency to shoot our wounded?

"The answer was immediately clear to me: Because it is the easy way out. Bearing my brother's burden doubles my workload. It's easy to become resentful of the injured one...sometimes the injured one is me."

Excerpt from A More Elite Soldier by Chuck Holton, 2003. Holton was reflecting on having to carry another soldier he has fallen.

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