Defining Sacrifice

Thank God for the bravery of Ghazala and Khizr Khan to question Trump’s understanding of sacrifice.

The word sacrifice is a peculiar word in the English language.  It is used in so many different ways with different connotations.  “I sacrificed everything for you!” could be said in a heated argument between a married couple or could be words shouted at a boss by an employee that is being fired or sacked.  However, a fallen soldier’s mother crying, “he sacrificed everything for you” to a Presidential candidate who would have banned her from entering the country is quite a different understanding of the word sacrifice.  (I don’t know if Ghazala Khan has verbalised those words, but for me, they are inferred by her tears.)

Thank you, Captain Humayun Khan

I didn’t know him, but I am thankful for those who serve in the military.  People who chose to train, to live a disciplined life, and to serve anywhere in the world as required in times of war and peace.

We should pause here and give thanks to God for Captain Humayun Khan and indeed all those who have fallen in battle, as well as those who are still serving.  To pray for their families and friends.  To give thanks for veterans and their families.

And for the sake of all of them, pray that wars cease.

 

Living as ‘Sacrifice’

Surely, sacrificing one’s principles  or even choosing to compromise to form a life together is not the same thing as living your life in a way so others can be safe and can live (Christians sometimes call this “living sacrificially”).  Sometimes living sacrificially can get you killed.

In the gospel of Luke, we see a Jesus that taught his disciples to take up their cross daily and follow Him (Luke 9:23).  Jesus taught his followers principles to live by and empowered them by the Holy Spirit to live these principles out.  Living out the principles taught by Jesus and choosing not to live by any other ungodly principles is the daily sacrifice Christians are called to make.  Why?  Not to earn salvation, but that others may experience the gospel and live too.

Jesus said, “Whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it.  What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self?” (Luke 9:23-24 NIV). 

Christians do not seek death.  We do not earn salvation or seek glory in this way.

As Jesus followers, we are called to sacrifice our selfish ambition and to live for God and others (aka Love God, love our neighbours).  Sometimes in doing that, Christians get persecuted and killed by those who do not like Jesus’ principles.

The only sacrificial death required was Jesus’ death on a cross, which we remember at Communion, in Mass, or as we break bread together.

As followers of Jesus, our sacrifice isn’t in the dying.  It’s in the living.

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