In 1969, I was a very young man when I arrived in Viet Nam. It was a little frightening to come to a new unit and not knowing anyone and being assigned to the Heavy Weapons Section within the 35th Security Police Squadron. My job was a simple one. Working as an armored personnel carrier (APC) driver, in an event that the enemy attacks the base, I was to respond with my three man team in the APC and plug the hole along the fence line. Thus, our motto was “Always There”. We were the first to see Viet Cong coming across the barbed wire.
It didn’t take very long to love and trust the people assigned to your APC and the other heavy weapons guys. We were kinda elite in that the base depended upon us to stop or delay the enemy long enough for a stronger force to arrive and repel them. We became a close knit family who literally entrusted our lives with one another.
When Sam Donaldson interviewed a young American Marine just before the Gulf War, he asked the question “How do you think the battle will go? Are you afraid?” The marine responded, “We’ll do okay. We are well trained. I’m not afraid because I am with family” as he gestures towards his squad. One of the other marines yelled out and said, “Tell him again. I don’t think he heard you.” The young marine repeated “This is my family; we’ll take care of each other”.
That interview reminded me so much of my own experience in Viet Nam. We became a family and we took care of each other. I am happy to report that my brothers in heavy weapons never lost a single man to the enemy.
We have to start thinking of our churches as a huge family. We have to stop yelling at each other, hurting each other and start caring for, sacrificing for and sharing with each other. We have to stop criticizing which leads to malcontent and get back to the basics that make up the body of Christ. After all, we are family; brothers and sisters in Christ.
Christians spend too much time criticizing other denominations. This is counterproductive and isn’t what God intended for His church. Regardless of what denomination we are, we are created in His image. We are to love everyone because they are a special creation from God Almighty himself. The model of the church can be found in
Acts 2:42-47 (NIV2011) 42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. ?43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common.
Peace and unity is the model of the church. Preaching and teaching God’s word is His command to us. Going into the world with the Good News of Jesus Christ is our entire mission. It’s about ALL believers working together for a common calling; the spreading of the gospel of Jesus Christ. We can’t carry out our mission if the world sees us bickering over silly denominational rules or beliefs. Love is a verb; a verb is an action word. We are called to love one another and we need to do it.
As new believers come, they enter into the family of God. They need to know that they are welcomed and loved. We need to show the world we not only preach and teach the word of God; but we live it also. Then we can hear Jesus say, “This is my family and I will take care of them.”
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