Lessons from Hacksaw Ridge

Last night I watched a surprisingly excellent movie.  I say surprisingly because I  am not a war/combat movie fan.  As a child, I was forced to watch way too many war movies and westerns, so generally they are not my idea of a something I want to watch.  I am grateful to the men and women who fight for our freedom, I just don’t want to watch battles.  My husband suggested the movie, Hacksaw Ridge.  I figured I would just go to bed early and said “okay” as I selected it from the choices On Demand.

I admit, I don’t remember much about the movies I watched as a child – just green or brown and fighting with guns and bayonets.  I was pleased to see there was a story line to the movie other than a battle.    I found myself connecting to the story and actually enjoyed the movie.

When it got to the battle scenes, I couldn’t help but thank the Lord for my loved ones that served in the military and returned home.  I can not imagine how devastating war-time really is, especially when it hits home.

As I sat there watching, I couldn’t help but think of the spiritual battlefield that is going on around us constantly.  I thought about the main character, Desmond Doss; he had signed up to be a medic  – someone there to save them when the battle was raging.   He was a person of strong moral conviction.  The people who were suppose to support him in his team, turned against him and mocked him.

My heart was quickened as I thought about the battles that many of our pastors and leaders face.  They are challenged to lead with integrity of heart, compassion and service. They are called to serve a church culture that wants things on our time frame and without offense to the way we want to live.  That doesn’t even take in to account the attacks of the real enemy in their life.  It is no wonder so many pastors step away from their calling.

I was taken aback by the destruction, the gruesomeness of the battle scenes.  I suppose I have never really paid attention when those scenes were on.  The idea of seeing your comrades fall.  They were having to walk over dead bodies and worse wounded that were still grasping for life.

Hacksaw RidgeIt is easy to forget about the war going on around us.  Ephesians 6:12  says For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.  I thought about the battle field in the Christian world.  How many people are we walking past every single day that dying?   How many people are we leaving behind that are grasping on for any piece of something that resembles life?  How many of the  people we used to walk alongside have fallen?  My heart is saddened to think about the answers.

Yet, in the mist of the warriors running from the enemy, realizing that the battle was too much but one stayed behind.   Although he wasn’t fighting the enemy, he was tending to the wounded and getting them to safety.  In his actions, others gained hope and they eventually won the war.  In the end, Desmond Doss did two things he said he would not do, but He did not compromise the principle behind his belief.  He said he would keep the Sabbath and he would not touch a gun.  The last battle required him to lay down the Sabbath, but because of his example the warriors were willing to pause until he had finished praying before going into combat.  He also said he would not touch a gun, but in the end used a gun as a stick to pull his commanding officer to safety.

I thought about how much difference one person can make that is not willing to compromise beliefs.  One person can make a difference; maybe not to everyone but to each person they do touch.  In doing so, there is a chance that people will be inspired and instead of adding to the Kingdom, it turns in to multiplication as more reach out to do the will of God.  So many times we are so focused on winning the battle that we will lose the war to do it.  We isolate people with our beliefs instead of drawing them in.  We condemn sinners with our words and actions; instead of loving them where they are and encouraging them to a better life.

If you haven’t seen the movie, for what it is worth; I highly recommend it.  Maybe you won’t get out of it what I did, but it is a true story.

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