I write this now, not to address any current affair, but rather to address a deep philosophical question that troubles many a heroic veteran or soldier… and I write it as one who can only empathize with the plight of those who have taken a human life. It is not a burden I would wish on any man, nor is the burden of walking into combat not knowing whether or not you’ve had your last meal.
I can only describe here what I have believed for a long time and I ask that if you are a believer and are troubled by this that you pray for guidance before reading this.
The distinction between Murder and Killing.
1. Murder is a selfish act with selfish motives. It is the low risk act of attacking as a predator another human as prey that posed little or no threat. It is motivated by evil intentions or hatred. It is usually performed by a coward or a tyrant.
2. Killing in self defense or in the defense of others is an act that is associated with a selfless heart. It involves combat with armed adversaries who pose danger to yourself or others. This is usually motivated by self-preservation, or in defense of a way of life or even more directly in defense of life itself. This act is rare conduct for a coward.
The greatest Love that a man can give is to lay down his life for another. – Jesus
So these could be the words of any combat soldier. Into the fray of combat, and faced the hordes of darkness and we are the soldiers who stand between our civil society and the demonic men who would arrest the very sovereignty and property and family from our grasp that we have fought so hard to earn all our lives. Certainly we do so as defenders of the lives of others. Were these forces not intruding into our midst to steal what is ours, we would have no desire for conflict. The lust for wanton destruction and callous punishment belongs to them. We are not here for the pay, because a soldiers pay is void.
We cannot do it for ourselves, because ourselves are what we put on the line. We do it for our countrymen and our nation. We do it to defend the high ideals of liberty. We do it because we know that if you take a man’s liberty or his livelihood you steal his life anyway. So to step out into combat for any reason is to lay down one’s life for another. So few know what it means, and fewer understand that taking a life creates a deeper hole in the survivor. Those who benefit from the protection of the soldier rarely understand what the cost was to provide the protection.
This I think is what we need to remember. Defending your family, your countrymen, and the ideals that allow men to be free are all worthy causes. Peace of mind and peace of soul are your just reward if you risked your life and limb in this way. Just don’t forget to pray every once in a while, because Jesus loves to hear from us. I believe it is how we maintain our humanity.