John 15:13 NIV
Greater love has no one than this,
that he lay down his life for his friends.
Today is Valentine’s Day—the celebration of love. We use the word love so carelessly in our society. I’m guilty. But, what is real love? God’s Word says that no greater love exists than the kind that would cause someone to lay down his life for his friends. That is the love God showed us through His Son Jesus. Do we—humans—possess the capability to love with a John 15:13 love? I am convinced we do.
This morning I watched an interview with Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha, America’s most recent Medal of Honor recipient. He spoke humbly of his actions in battle against the Taliban in Afghanistan. Eight soldiers did not survive that attack as fifty-three Americans were outmanned and outgunned approximately six to one.
Staff Sgt. Romesha, along with twenty-one others, was wounded. Yet, he continued to fight and with passionate affection to retrieve the bodies of his fallen American brothers in arms. The President called the actions of those fighting that day, “sacrifice driven by pure love”. I agree.
As I watched the interview, my mind flashed back to the war of my generation—Vietnam. I thought of friends lost in battle. I still remember where I stood each time I received the bad news. I thought of friends who came home “messed up” from all they encountered over their months of swampy marshes, guerilla warfare and Agent Orange. The average age of the on-the-ground soldier in Vietnam has been estimated at between nineteen and twenty.
My father, a WWII Veteran, served in the south pacific where he contracted malaria. As a child, I remember seeing the residual chills and shakes from that disease He kept what he encountered locked up inside, but as I grew older I realized that war had changed him from an innocent young farm boy into a man who had seen things none of us want to know about.
So, on this Valentine’s Day, as we think about love, I salute the men and women of the United States of America’s Armed Forces. I thank you for your service, your battle scars, your wounds, and some of you—your life. I thank you for your love of country and fellow citizens. I thank you because when called upon you exhibit that great true love that calls you to lay down your life for your friends. I thank you.
May God bless our military and may God bless The United States of America.