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What Would I Die For?



It's Six Word Saturday, and here's the thought I'm contemplating this morning...

What Would I Willingly Die For?

Yesterday, my friend Bozo, who lives in India, wrote a thought-provoking post entitled Fighting with Fasts about fasting for political reasons.  It's definitely worth the read, since this is isn't something most of us encounter very often.

The painting above by Mats Eriksson is entitled simply "The Sacrifice."  In Christian theology, Jesus offered up his life as the price to redeem humanity from it's sin.  He was willing to die for us.

During the Lenten Season, Christians of many denominations often choose to forgo something they enjoy eating... meat on  Fridays (or during the entire period), sweets, alcohol, or something they enjoy doing, such as going to the movies or dances. This is done as an act of devotion and a means of identifying with the sacrifice Jesus made on their behalf.  But what about the ultimate sacrifice - how many of us would be willing to die for our religious beliefs, or our political beliefs, or anything at all? 

What would I willingly die for?  I had to think long and hard about that. I would die for my children and my husband, of course.  If in some way I could offer up myself  to prevent their suffering you bet I would do it, and so would many (I hope most) parents/spouses.  I have no fear of death, I believe that life continues beyond the physical realm, though the many methods of death occurring can be very disturbing to think about. 

Would I be willing to die for my religious beliefs, for my political ones?  Isn't that what was done during the birth of this country?  People died to secure freedom of religion and freedom from being governed by another land. Freedom, we most often take it for granted here - until we read about someone who has been tortured, imprisoned, or put to death for daring to do or say something contrary to the laws of their culture or country.  Then we realize how much freedom we have to say and do as we please. But would we be willing to die to preserve it?  Would I? 

If it were possible, would I, at 58, be willing to offer my life in exchange for the life of some young woman dying of cancer who has a family to raise and a life yet to life? I'd like to think so. Even though doing so would not only be a sacrifice on my part, but also on the part of my family who would have to adjust to my absence in their lives.

Would I offer myself in exchange for a hostage in a bank hold up? Would I be willing to risk my life to attempt a daring rescue of a child caught in a burning house, or to try to save someone who was drowning, knowing that in their distress they might pull me under too?

Would I be willing to die to save the life of a friend, or a neighbor, or someone half way around the world that I don't know?  We have sent our sons and daughters off to war for that very purpose, and to establish/preserve a way of life Americans believe is "the right way".  Would I be willing to sacrifice myself for the same goal? I don't know.

Would I offer my life without hesitation to protect others, or for something I believe in strongly?  If you knew that in dying you could somehow make a real difference (not just a political statement to draw attention to a cause, but in response to a deal struck to effect a change), would you do it?  Would I?  

Do we have the conviction and the strength of character to offer up ourselves as a human sacrifice? It's not a choice many of us will have to  make in our lifetimes, but I pray that if the time or opportunity ever came, I would overcome my fears and cowardice to step forward and say, "Here I am, choose me".

It is only in considering our own response, that we can began to fathom the sacrifice that Jesus made... a good thought for meditation on this Easter weekend.

23 comments:

  1. A great thought-provoking post for Easter. Thank you!

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    1. You're welcome, Susan! I approach spirituality and religion in my own way, but I felt this was a good topic for consideration, no matter what one's personal beliefs may be. Real sacrifice entails committment and courage!

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  2. As you know, I come from a long line of military family members and now my sons are following in those steps too. I don't think I have the courage to do what all of my family has done...willingly sacrifice my freedom for others' freedom and risk my life in the process. Perhaps it's why I give money instead? I'd die for my family, no doubt...but strangers? I don't know...

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    1. I totally agree L. My father was in the Navy, I had two husbands in the Army, and my son is an Air Force veteran. I believe in fighting for and maybe even dying for causes we believe in, but sometimes - ever since the war in Vietnam, there has been reason to question the motives of our presence and if I am willing to sacrifice my child's life to acoomplish vague goals. Are we really leaving such countries better places when we go? I am proud of Americans who serve and have served in the military. It takes courage to put your life on the line. To my Aquarian mind, war is such a tragic waste of life to begin with. Everyone is some mother's child, and somewhere a mother weeps, evertime another soldier is killed. Primitive and senseless!

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  3. I hope I'm never tested because I'm sure I would be found wanting, but you're right- it's a good topic for this weekend.

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    1. I agree RestlessJo, I want to say I am brave enough, and when it comes to protecting my family I certainly am, but for larger causes, I'm not sure. Then again, if no one is willing to stand for the oppressed who will there be to defend them, and are we all accountable for the result? Deep thoughts indeed! :-)

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  4. It was nice to read this. Thank you. As I am now, I don't think I could sacrifice myself very easily. Maybe if it were in the heat of the moment, and I unconsciously rose beyond myself, it would be possible. But Otherwise I just don't have that kind of courage and unselfishness.

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    1. Bozo, I know for a fact you have a very loving, giving heart. If the situation occured where you had to step in to save the life of someone precious to you, I have no doubt that you would. Now dying for ideals, that's a bit more difficult, still, I think that freedom just might be worth dying for, as those who have little or none of it would most certainly agree.

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  5. Hi Josie ~~ I guess that while I was in the Army it was my duty to die for, it necessary, for my fellow country people. I see that as dying for a just cause. But I didn't have any choice of whether to die for a releative or spouse, or a good person or a bad one. I would have died for all if any.

    Paul stated Jesus dilema, which really wasn't very much of a dilema for Jesus, in Romans 5, verses 6, 7, and 8:

    "verse 6) You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.
    7) Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die.
    8) But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."
    http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Romans%205&version=NIV1984
    ..

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    1. Hi Jim, thanks for stopping by. You present a good point here - to die for the deserving is one thing,but which of us would be willing to die for the "ungodly"?

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  6. Your six words are definitely one of the toughest questions!

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    1. That's certainly true, Amanda! I know it's hard to say for sure what we'd be willing to do unless actually confronted with a situation requiring us to sacrifice our life. But at least we can have a spirit of willingness, of realizing that we are all a part of something much bigger than ourselves.

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  7. I hope I would be able to put myself out there to save my husband, kids, grandkids...or anyone I love. This was a good post!

    Happy Easter!

    Linda @ Truthful Tidbits

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    1. I hope that I would too, Linda! Thank you for stopping by. Happy Easter to you and yours!

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  8. I really enjoyed reading this and it makes one think and I wish I had a witty answer but this post is to serious for witty.........lol

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    1. It was a bit on the heavy side, Jo-Anne, I promise a lighter one next up! Sometimes my mind likes to travel to deep places! I do find a bit of humor in the situation, when I contemplate what many of us consider "sacrifices" in our lives... not willing to give up too much are we... especially our computers and cellphones! :-)

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  9. great post! very thought provoking
    I was once reminded that even if I had been the only person on earth - that Jesus would still have died on the cross - just for me ... it certainly personalises it a bit!
    Happy Easter to you and yours

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    1. Faith is a personal relationship, Alyson, and that's what makes it beautiful!

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  10. I think that our society, as a whole, is much less willing to sacrifice anything. My daughter attends a parochial junior high and their class was asked to give up something for lent. Liv came home and thought it would be a great idea for our whole family, so she and Bing gave up chocolate. I gave up biting my fingernails.

    Now, this was minor. And we were such babies about the whole thing...

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    1. Absolutely Maria, I had to hide a chuckle as some of the things people at work gave up for Lent. I can't say much as I don't follow this tradition. I'm betting you had a harder time with yours than they did, as fingernails are always with us. Chocolate is hard for me to give up anytime, but I can do it if I try.

      In my mind for something truly to be a sacrifice it should be giving up something we value greatly. I'm not sure what I'd be willing to surrender either, except maybe some of my possessions - but not my Iphone or lap top! :-))

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  11. Definitely Nimue! It is rare that we are confronted with such difficult choices, but I'd like to think I would handle it bravely.

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  12. I was reading recently about some of the Christian martyrs and those who were persecuted or killed for religious beliefs during the Inquisition and it's quite sobering to think about what those people went through for their beliefs. I'm not sure if such piety is even something that would be considered these days. It certainly does make you think....

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Your comments are always appreciated... they make me smile! :-)