It’s a book much in the news today, and I just plowed through it.
I wouldn’t call it pleasure reading because it’s filled with the intricacies of international diplomacy and the unpronounceable names of prime ministers and kings.
The author recounts disagreements with the president he served, including when the administration considered a retaliatory air strike after losing a drone. He wanted it, but the president decided no because there would be “150 body bags” on enemy territory and perhaps many of them innocent civilians. The toll was simply too much, and the plan was scrapped.
I’m certainly no military strategist, but I don’t think it’s always true we lose strategic advantage by showing respect for life.
My generation remembers the weekly “kill reports” from Vietnam. Nightly news anchors told the number of Americans killed and the number of enemy killed. Psychologists say we became jaded by these reports. The first few times we heard them, we were struck with sadness. But human life became cheap.
We’ve heard chilling words from American cities in turmoil in recent weeks — people so enraged all they can think about is hurting innocent people and destroying their businesses. Human life is cheap.
And a friend involved in ministering to women ensnared in human trafficking stunned me with accounts of children kidnapped and abused, and all of this in the Bible Belt. Women become nothing more than toys for evil men. Human life is cheap.
It’s sad to see those who disrespect others through physical or verbal abuse, and those who disrespect themselves through addiction. Human life is cheap.
In contrast, Jesus talked about the value of every person.
He said our heavenly father knows every sparrow that falls and knows about us because we’re worth more than sparrows. He said God understands the intimate details of our lives, even the number of hairs on our head.
And Jesus further pronounced the human soul worth more than anything the world offers. If we lose our soul, we’ve given our lives to nothing at all worthwhile (Luke 10: 30-31, 39).
A fable tells about jealous rats scheming to destroy a beautiful songbird. They offered to bring the bird worms so he wouldn’t have to scavenge them himself.
“And it will only cost you one feather for one worm,” they said.
At the end of the day, the bird was so stuffed with worms he couldn’t sing, and so short of feathers, he couldn’t fly away. The evil rats destroyed him.
How sad that people can trade their song for worms, too.
The Creator wants to fill our lives with His love so that we can love and serve others. Anything less is worth very little, indeed.
Reflections is a weekly devotional column written by Michael J. Brooks, pastor of the Siluria Baptist Church in Alabaster. The church's website is siluriabaptist.com.