Michael Knowles, a contributor for the Daily Wire, recently received a letter from a soldier who is deeply struggling with his faith and has been contemplating suicide. The soldier posed a difficult question to Knowles, asking if he would go to hell for the things he did in service to his country.
Knowles’ response couldn’t have been any better. Thank God for folks like this reaching out to those our society tends to forget: it’s heroes.
Here’s the transcript from Knowles’ show concerning the letter:
“I’m having trouble with my faith and hoping you can offer some insight. I was in the Army for 5-and-a-half years serving as an Infantryman (my job was to hunt and kill people). I know that a lot of translations of the 10 commandments are wrong when it reads “thou shalt not kill” when it should be thou shalt not murder, but in war, the line between murdering and killing is blurred. Some of the times I shot someone it was not clear if they were enemies or just civilians at the wrong place at the wrong time. I often wonder if I murdered one of these people, and if I did do I truly deserve to live, and seriously doubt I deserve to go to heaven even though I try to live my life according to the Bible. I have attempted suicide twice since I left the Army, and I’m often depressed. I do go see a counselor when I can get an appointment at the VA and take anti-depressants, but I can’t seem to shake the guilt that I may have murdered innocent people. I guess my question is: Does God give leeway to soldiers for what we do in war? Thank you, Jacob.”
The answer is Yes! Yes he does. I’m very sorry to hear that you went through that. Thank you for your service. Thank you for protecting our freedom and our country and I’m sorry that you’re having these psychological afflictions afterwards, and these feelings of guilt.
Yes, God does give leeway to soldiers in times of just war. Absolutely.
To quote General Patton — I don’t need to tell you this — but I believe it was Patton who said: “War is a bloody killing business.” It’s a really awful thing. War is a terrible evil thing and it will never be eradicated as long as human hearts are beating because that is the fact of life. That is the worst, most extreme extent of politics. It is a defining feature of civilization. There is war.
So, in war, you can either choose to fight and protect your country and protect your freedom and protect your family, or you can lay down arms and let the cruel rape the face of the earth. And fortunately, we don’t do that in the United States. We don’t do the latter. We defend our freedom and we do it because people like you are willing to do that. In times of war, there is collateral damage. There are blurry situations. It’s unclear sometimes if someone is a bad guy or if someone is in the wrong place at the wrong time.
That is not going to damn you to hell for that. That does not happen.
On that point, I should also like to point out Saint Paul was a murderer. Saint Paul wasn’t participating in a just war. Saint Paul was a murderer who killed Christians and persecuted them and he is the apostle. He’s the great apostle who spread Christianity.
I can’t begin to imagine the psychological difficulty that that comes with. I’m not trying to make light of that, but you asked me a question so that I can give you an outside perspective, so I can give you a little more distance, and a little bit more of an objective perspective here.
Of course, God gives leeway for that. It’s a wonderful thing to defend your country. Defending your country involves doing things that hurt, that might be wrong, and that make mistakes because war is an evil, evil thing, but you did the right thing defending your country, and you’re not going to go to hell for doing the right thing.
I hope that helps.
Our veterans are a special breed of individual. They are folks, both men and women, who sign on the dotted line to defend our liberty, our way of life, and to stop evil from flourishing all around the world. They know there’s a good chance they might die. They know there’s a chance they might not come back in one piece. Yet they still go out and do battle against the darkness in our world.
This is what makes it a crying shame that so many veterans are left out in the cold after coming back from sacrificing so much for their country. We as a nation need to be providing better healthcare for veterans, housing, job opportunities, you name it. These are the best of the best that America has to offer and they deserve more than what they are getting.
Source: Daily Wire
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God’s Incredible Truth About Special Needs Adoption
Making room in your home, and in your heart, for a child who is not biologically yours is an amazing reflection of God’s grace and adoption of sinners, but it is not without its hardships and struggles.
Adopting a child with special needs can increase the tension in an already difficult process, and so many of these precious children end up without families because of what their care would entail.
When God adopted us into His kingdom, however, he didn’t hesitate for our flaws and imperfections, and the adoptive family who mirrors this finds such an immense reward.
In a heartwarming piece for Relevant Magazine, author Scarlet Hiltibidal shares her amazing experience with adopting a little girl from China with special needs and the lessons God taught her through it all.
Ya Zhu was almost four, but she couldn’t walk and wasn’t potty trained. There were concerns about her cognitive development.
Many doctors and specialists said we ought to proceed with ‘great hesitation.’ One told us not to move forward at all. They all agreed there must be something else very wrong with Ya Zhu because her delays were so significant.
But my husband and I managed to stay mostly peaceful. We didn’t know if Ya Zhu would heal and recover. We didn’t know how hard things would be. We didn’t know if she’d be a joyful child, but we decided to rename her ‘Joy.’ We hoped and prayed adopting her would give her hope and a future.
While embarking on the journey of adoption and knowing full well you are in for a challenge can surely cause a healthy degree of apprehension, Hiltibidal says she and her husband, by God’s grace, were able to proceed without an ounce of fear in their hearts.
God was leading us to Joy, and He was with us. He had come through in so many ways: checks from strangers to cover adoption fees at exactly the right time, comforting words from the Bible, people who moved our anxious hearts toward rest, doors opening and closing and freelance jobs falling out of the sky exactly as our adoption agency was asking for another payment. God was with us. He kept proving He was in the process and supporting it and leading it. We weren’t afraid.
In a moment of raw, authentic honesty, Hiltibidal reveals that it wasn’t until she actually met her new daughter that fear crept in.
We were convinced Joy would never walk, never learn, never leave diapers. I wondered if our family would ever laugh again. If we’d ever have an easy Saturday at the park. I wondered how much wheelchairs cost and what my other children would miss out on because of this decision we’d made.
But right there, in the middle of the scariest moment of the entire process, God reached down and touched Hiltibidal’s heart to remind her of one of His deepest truths.
He reminded me that I was, and so often still am, a child with special needs who doesn’t know how to rest in the love of her adoptive Parent. He reminded me that I am the little girl with broken ears and broken eyes and my hands clenched around everything I can grab, and yet He walked into this broken world so He could adopt me into His family.
Hiltibidal draws us back to Romans 8:15, which says, “For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, ‘Abba! Father!’”
Emboldened to follow the clear path God had set before her, no matter the challenges, Hiltibidal began to see His faithfulness and power in their new lives with Joy.
Joy is five now. She’s more than doubled in size since her adoption, is fluent in sign language and actually advanced in communication according to an evaluation from her school. With a hearing aid, she can hear and understand English, and after a year of physical therapy, her therapist suggested we discontinue her services because Joy no longer needs the extra help.
Life with Joy has become such an amazing blessing for her family. Not only does she enrich their lives with all the love, hugs, and learning experiences a child comes with, her special needs point the Hiltibidals to the Gospel on a daily basis.
In my life, God has used the world of special needs to make me stop depending on my life plans and my strength. Instead, He’s offered me His plan and His strength. When Joy’s special needs caused her to depend on me, I had no choice but to take my weakness to God.
I’m not strong. I’m not powerful. I’m not ‘normal.’ I’m as dependent as my special needs daughter. We are all dependent on the power of God for our next breath. Resting in that reality is what can give you and me the ability to look around and reach out and meet the needs of others, the way God reached down from Heaven to meet ours.
God has this wonderful way of structuring our lives such that we endure challenges designed specifically to draw us closer to Him and to teach us to be like Him. When those challenges involve our children, what a wonderful insight we gain into the heart of our Father in Heaven.
All It Took Was $6, A Thunderstorm, And A “God Thing” To Launch This Country Star’s Career
Did you know that every single detail in your life is a thread in an intricate tapestry woven together by the Master? Where you’re born, the friends you’ll make, who you’ll marry, the jobs you land, the ministries you serve, that’s all God’s beautiful orchestration.
He has a perfect will, and try as we might, we’re his creatures and we can’t rush Him or outrun Him. It’s not our time to shine until God says so.
That’s the incredible lesson fledgling country star Russell Dickerson had to learn the hard way.
Dickerson, a Belmont University grad, had tried to make waves in the country music scene for years. He’d landed a record deal way back in 2010, but it had “definitely been a slow journey,” he shared with Fox News, describing the trials he went through trying to “get big” before it was truly his time.
“We had no money, no budget, no nothing and we had been turned down, turned down, turned down,” the singer recalled.
“The biggest first step was our music video [that] my wife shot,” Dickerson said, retelling the frustrated moments that led up to his big break.
Dickerson and his wife, Kailey, finally had enough and decided to try their hand at recording a music video: “We’re like, alright, we’re going to do this on our own.”
“So we shot this music video for ‘Yours’ and if you watch it on YouTube,” the singer explains, “it’s just me walking down a road and my wife is in my SUV just shooting out of the back and it just starts raining and there’s lightning everywhere.”
What might of seemed like the end result of years of failure and frustration to the Dickersons was really just God’s perfect timing, all the way down to the thunderstorm that gave the video such an exciting vibe.
“It was this God moment, totally,” he said.
God wasn’t done with the Dickersons yet, though. Not long after the video, which cost just six dollars to film (possibly the gas for the SUV?), an industry exec reached out to Dickerson and the following events just “snowballed into this perfect storm” that finally gave his career wings.
Ultimately, Dickerson says, if God gave him this dream, God was going to be the one to make it a reality.
“I feel like God’s given me this dream of being on stage and writing a song, even of getting a tour bus…All of these dreams he put into my mind and into my heart are finally coming to fruition.”
The good, the bad, the frustrating, the hopeless, the glorious, every part of our lives is in God’s hands, and we don’t believe in a God who can fail. The next time you find yourself, like Dickerson, struggling against the waves, stop, turn to God, and watch His perfect timing unfold.
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