On June 28, 2005, deep behind enemy lines in Afghanistan, a very committed four-man Navy SEAL team was conducting a reconnaissance mission at the unforgiving altitude of approximately 10,000 feet. The SEALs led by Lt. Michael Murphy were scouting a high-level anti-coalition militia leader of a guerrilla group of terrorists known to locals as the “Mountain Tigers.” The SEAL mission was compromised when the team was spotted by local nationals, who presumably reported its presence and location to the Taliban.
A fierce firefight erupted between the four SEALs and a much larger enemy force of more than 50 anti-coalition militia. The enemy had the SEALs outnumbered. They also had terrain advantage. They launched a well-organized, three-sided attack on the SEALs. The firefight continued relentlessly as the overwhelming militia forced the team deeper into a ravine.
Trying to reach safety, the four men, now each wounded, began bounding down the mountain’s steep sides, making leaps of 20 to 30 feet.
The ensuing fierce firefight resulted in numerous enemy casualties, as well as the wounding of all four members of the SEALs team. Ignoring his own wounds and demonstrating exceptional composure, Lt. Murphy continued to lead and encourage his men. When the primary communicator fell mortally wounded, Lt. Murphy repeatedly attempted to call for assistance for his imperiled teammates. Realizing the impossibility of communication in the extreme terrain, and in face of almost certain death, he fought his way into open terrain to gain a better position to transmit a call. This deliberate, heroic act deprived him of cover, exposing him to direct enemy fire. Finally achieving contact with his headquarters, Lt. Murphy maintained his exposed position while he provided his location and requested immediate support for his team. At one point he was shot in the back causing him to drop the transmitter. Murphy picked it back up, completed the call, and continued firing at the enemy who was closing in. Severely wounded, Lt. Murphy returned to his cover position with his men. He continued to engage the enemy until he was mortally wounded, gallantly giving his life.
For his undaunted courage, intrepid fighting spirit and inspirational devotion to his men in the face of certain death, Lt. Murphy was the first medal of honor in Afghanistan. Most of us will never see that much courage or love in our lifetime because it doesn’t happen that often.
John 15:13 – Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
I am the daughter of a fallen warrior, a Marine killed in Vietnam, so if it’s Veterans Day or Memorial Day or any other day that speaks to the freedoms our country enjoys, you will hear from me. If you’ve been around a Marine, you have most likely heard the motto, Semper Fi or Semper Fidelis. Direct translation of “always faithful.” It is not just a motto, but a way of life, speaking to a Marine’s commitment to God and Country. And through this, commitment to their comrades and fellow man.
So, what does a commitment or loving your fellow man look like? We have a supreme example.
John 3:16 – For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
God so loved the world. It’s not the world as in the planet; it’s you, it’s us, it’s her, it’s him, it’s them. Did you see the movie The Passion of the Christ? Did any part of you think, I could do that? Or, I would do that.
So how do we love others? How do we lay our life down for them? What might that look like?
First, we have to make it part of our daily agenda. We have to accept and embrace the need, the calling to love others and love them well.
John 13:34 – A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.
Matthew 22:37-40 – Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself. All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.
Well sounds like He really means it. We are called to have a self-sacrificing heart for our fellow man. We need to pursue love. How do we become a more loving person? Often we hear or think, I wasn’t born with a lot of love or I’m just not a loving person. No one has a right to say I’m just not a loving person. We are responsible to love. We have been commanded to love – and to love well. Love is a gift and a task. The first step may be to ask God to help us learn how to love better.
Although we most often hear the famous 1 Corinthians 13 passage at weddings, it is actually about loving others, not just a new spouse.
- Be Patient with Them. 1 Corinthians 13:4
Some people are just hard to love. They are annoying, toxic or narcissistic. However, we should remember that we have our own flaws too. We are all broken. Plus, the Bible clearly tells us to love the unlovable (Matthew 5:43-48, Luke 6:27). To succeed in doing this, we must be patient. Be more understanding and pray that God will help them change, as He helped us change.
- Be Kind Always. 1 Corinthians 13:4
It is not always easy to be nice to people, especially if you are stressed and frustrated. However, the Bible reminds us to treat others kindly. Just like you, everyone is fighting their own battles. That is why the world needs a little more kindness. A small act of kindness may not seem like it will make a difference, but to that person, it just may.
- Do Not be Insecure with Them. 1 Corinthians 13:4
Jealousy and envy will cause you to resent others. If you are insecure with other people because you think they are more successful than you, it means you struggle with pride. On the other hand, love will make you celebrate others’ success because you genuinely wish them well. In short, loving others means not thinking of them as your rivals.
- Treat Them with Respect. 1 Corinthians 13:5
This can be a hard one. Respect is a vital element in love. It is acknowledging a person’s right to be different from you. Everyone walks their own path – right or wrong, biblical or not, with God or without. If you love someone, you will not dishonor or disrespect them even if you have opposing views and ways. You will avoid offending them by applying kindness, patience, and humility when trying to win them.
- Be Selfless. 1 Corinthians 13:5
The Bible says love is not self-seeking. It means that you always have to put the interests of others before yours. You have to consider the welfare of others before your own desires or ambitions. It is not bad to pursue your dreams, but it must be not at the expense of others.
- Do Not Anger Easily. 1 Corinthians 13:5
Again, you have to be patient with people (yes, this includes children and family). We are to practice self-control when dealing with difficult people. Avoid being hot-tempered since it will cause you to offend people and even burn bridges. Tame your tongue and do not let emotion overwhelm you when confronting a misunderstanding. Be slow to speak, slow to answer and respond wisely instead of just reacting.
- Forget About Their Past Mistakes. 1 Corinthians 13:5
Loving others the biblical way means being willing to forgive no matter how hurt you are. This is not easy. For complete healing, you need to surrender your pain and hurt to God by forgiving those who hurt you. And when you forgive someone, it means choosing to let go of their mistakes, not bringing them up again in the future. Forgiving doesn’t mean forgetting, but it does mean letting go.
- Do Not Tolerate Wrongdoings. 1 Corinthians 13: 6
This applies to other Brothers and Sisters in Christ. If you truly love someone, you will not ignore their mistakes. You will rebuke and correct them when necessary because you do not want them to live in sin. As a fellow Christian, you will help them get right with God again. This is tough. It is important to be certain that you are approaching them with the greatest of love, empathy and from a clear biblical perspective.
- Protect Them. 1 Corinthians 13:7
Love will compel you to do your best to keep those around you safe from harm. It may mean standing by their side no matter what. It will require you the courage to defend them against slanders and rumors. Even if you have discovered their dark secrets, you will control the urge to gossip about them. Most importantly, you will pray for them regularly since entrusting them to God is the best way you can protect them.
- Choose to Trust Them. 1 Corinthians 13:7
While you should only put your entire trust in God, it is also essential to have faith in your relationship with people. Yes, you know they are not perfect and have the tendency to hurt you, but love is worth it. Treat the people you love with grace, understanding that no one is perfect. Of course, it is best to surrender your relationships to God, asking for guidance on how you should deal with any offenses or misunderstandings. In the same way, you should ask Him for strength and wisdom to avoid betraying those who trust you.
- Do Not Give Up Easily on Them. 1 Corinthians 13:7
Just like how God does not give up on you no matter how many times you mess up, love will keep you hopeful in other people. Do not walk away from them too quickly. Try to be more patient and understanding. Pray for them daily, believing that nothing is impossible with the Lord. He can change lives and heal broken hearts.
- Persevere in Caring for Them. 1 Corinthians 13:7
Give your best in loving people. Give your all. This is how we lay our life down for others. Remember, life is short. Take every opportunity to spend time with those you love. Serve them and be generous. Be available to them. Always remember that people in your community are worth the time, effort, resources, and sacrifices.
If you want to improve how you show love to the people you care about, seek help from God Himself. Remember, He is the author of love, so He has the power to change hearts. Draw closer to Him by studying His Word, connecting with Him through prayer, and seeking to do His will. And once you realize that you live to represent Christ, loving others will become easier. One of the most powerful things I’ve learned as a Christian is asking God to change my heart in regard to someone else. He works quickly! And, when all else fails I ask Him to intervene in the situation. I’ve learned to love the word “intervene.” I let Him fix it.
So, am I willing to run into enemy fire for my fellow man, or die a criminal’s death on a cross? Not so sure. Maybe in the heat of the moment but don’t think I can make guarantees. I’m not fond of pain. But, can I be kinder, more patient, and pray more? Yeah, I can. Can loving others be at the top of my daily agenda – definitely. Can I do better? Yes.
Blogging for God and you,