Eugene Cho

freedom is [not] free

I have often heard and read the phrase:

“Freedom is not free.”

And while that may be true, it sums up for me one of the greatest examples of our human depravity.

Freedom.

Freedom is created by God.

Freedom is one of the greatest gifts God has given unto His creation.

But because of sin, rebellion, and human depravity –

is no longer free for all as God desired.

On this memorial day, I express my gratitude to the men and women – past and present – that have served in the military to protect and serve this country.  On this Memorial Day, I especially want to honor those who have died in service to this country.

On this day, I express my gratitude to others (even beyond the military) that has sought to use their lives, voices, and influence to advocate for the rights and freedoms for all of humanity.

But I also hope that while we share our appreciation of those that have served past and present, we would not forget that conflict and war in itself reflects the fallen and broken nature of humanity. While we acknowledge and appreciate, may we be that much more pursuant of the peace and shalom that God intended in the beginning and that God will consummate and restore on the Day.

May we always remember that we serve the Kingdom of God rather than the empire of nations.

We live in broken and fallen world but nevertheless, we believe in a God that created this world in beauty. Sin and rebellion enters into the human story but despite this sin, brokenness, and rebellion, we believe in a God that sent his son, Christ, to not only reconcile the world but to usher a Kingdom that will – one day – restore all things back unto Himself. God is on the move. God has a trajectory and this trajectory is to restore all things back unto Himself.

As we take time to honor those that have given their lives, may we never stop longing for peace.

I long for peace. I yearn for peace. I pray for peace. And I certainly await the day when God will restore all things.

But I don’t just want to wait, yearn, and pray for something, I want to participate – even in my small ways – in the trajectory of what I believe God has already put into motion. I want to call and invite others to live in the way of the peace: Blessed by the peacemakers.

Also, check this out: Flying a Fallen Soldier Home.

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10 Responses

  1. I hope people go out of their way to thank a military person when they come across one on the street (they kind of stick out.) I know I’m kind of shy about approaching strangers, but they are always gracious and thankful for a citizen recognizing what they are doing.

    • Patty Varnes says:

      I totally agree here, I to sometimes have a problem addressing total strangers but there is a familiar connection when I come across our military…..I feel like this if they are willing to lay it all on the line for me and my country and I am a stranger to them how much less harder should it be to extend my heart in gratitude to them when I see them in crossing?

  2. James says:

    “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.” – James 3:17,18

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Eugene Cho, Jota Mossadihj, Jota Mossadihj, joshua a watson, joshua a watson and others. joshua a watson said: RT @eugenecho: “Freedom is not free” sums up one of the greatest examples of our human depravity – http://bit.ly/bjDCyJ […]

  4. […] freedom is [not] free « eugene cho says: Monday, May 31, 2010 at 2:02 am […]

  5. Brian Kiley says:

    Well said.

  6. Jaycee says:

    I enjoyed reading this. Thank you.

  7. Jon says:

    Well said. It important to keep that tension in view. Thanks for the reminder.

  8. Mickey Gallagher says:

    It never ceases to amaze me that people who consider themselves Christians continue to find ways to justify killing in the name of a nation-state. There were many Iraqi and Palestinian brothers and sisters in Christ who have been killed by U.S. bombs and warplanes, just as there have been many Iraqi, Afghani, and Palestinian Muslims who have died because of those same bombs. Are some deaths more important or tragic in the eyes of God? I don’t think Jesus is pleased with any reason for killing in war, whether it be for “freedom” or “democracy” or because it is believed to be “His will.” As long as Christians find ways to justify war and to celebrate those who perpetuate it, angels will continue to weep. For as the songwriter John Prine once wrote : “Your flag decal won’t get you into Heaven anymore / We’re already overcrowded from your dirty little war / And Jesus don’t like killin’ no matter what the reason for / And your flag decal won’t get you into Heaven anymore.”

  9. Al Engler says:

    War is indeed a terrible thing. I’ve seen it first hand. I also met the Lord and experienced the only true peace – peace with God through Jesus Christ during my military service. I then spent the next twenty years as a missionary to the U.S. Military. I still supervise people that serve in that capacity. As I said, war is a terrible thing, but consider this question. Do we want to leave war in the hands of the unredeemed? Or as long as wars exist, would it not be better to have people serving in our military who answer to Jesus?

    Jesus, during His life and ministry, had opportunities to declare the military profession “off-limits.” To the woman caught in adultery, He said, “Go and sin no more.” He could have given these same instructions to the Roman centurion in Matthew, chapter 8, but He didn’t. If Jesus wanted to condemn this man for serving the evil, Roman nation-state, this encounter provided an ideal opportunity. Instead, He commended the Roman soldier for his faith.

    The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith” (Matthew 8:5-10)

    John the Baptist also had direct communication with soldiers, who asked him how they should show works of righteousness in their lives. This is a vital passage of Scripture for people in the military.

    Then some soldiers asked him, “And what should we do?” He replied, “Don’t extort money and don’t accuse people falsely–be content with your pay” (Luke 3:2-3, 7-8, 14).

    This was an important question from the soldiers. What should soldiers do to “produce fruit in keeping with repentance”? John could have said other things, including, “Get out of the military. It’s immoral, and you shouldn’t be involved!” But he didn’t. Speaking as a prophet, inspired by God, he told soldiers not to abuse their power and to lead honest, content lives. This is still true today. Both Jesus and John the Baptist could have condemned military service as an option for men and women of God. They did not.

    Now, I know that there will come a time when Jesus “will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the war-horses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken” (Zech. 9), and that causes me to appreciate believers today who are pacifist. They are probably a little ahead of me, because there will eventually be no soldiers needed in the Kingdom (or policemen or locksmiths or probably doctors). I also greatly appreciate those Christ followers who dive into the grey area of military service and lay their lives down for our nation and more importantly (in the case of believers) for the sake of the gospel.

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One Day’s Wages

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As I soaked in this breathtaking sunrise this morning above the clouds, I felt compelled to pray for so my places in America and around the world that are experiencing such pain, heartache, injustice, and violence. At times, it feels so overwhelming but in prayer, I was reminded of these words from John 16:33. As we keep striving, working, hoping, preaching, loving, truthtelling, reconciling, repenting, forgiving, dismantling, peacemaking, Kingdom building...may we fix our eyes on Christ: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” - John 16:33 Grateful for a very full weekend of ministry and preaching in Toronto, Canada (GTA). Such a privilege to partner with @worldvisioncan @wvcollective to advocate for the most vulnerable around the world. God is so gracious. A true honor to meet and encourage local pastors, lecture at Tyndale University & Seminary (photo), and preach at Richmond Hills Community Church, Compass Point Bible Church, and New City Church. Thank you, Lord, that you use broken and imperfect people like me to speak of Your love. Today, Minhee and I dropped off our eldest child at her college. We have been thinking and praying about this day for many years. On some days, we hoped it would never come. On other days, we couldn't wait for it to come. On some days, we prayed for time to stop and other days, we prayed with anticipation. 
After an entire summer of laughing it off, it hit us...hard...this week. Seeing all of her stuff laid out on the basement floor was the catalyst to a load of emotions.

After unloading the car and taking her stuff to her new home for this year and mindful that she might never live with us again; helping sort out her stuff, saying hello to her roommates...I wasn't sure what to do or say.

A flood of thoughts rushed my mind.

Is she ready?
Have we done enough?
Have we taught her enough? 
What if this? What if that?

And so we shared what we have shared with her the moment she began to understand words: "Remember who you are. Remember WHO you belong to. Remember what you're about. God loves you so much. Please hold God's Word and His promises close and dear to your heart. We love you so much and we are so proud of you." And with that, we said goodbye. Even if she may not be thousands of miles away, this is a new chapter for her and even for us. I kept it composed. Her roommate was staring at me. I didn't want to be that father. I have street cred to uphold. Another final hug. 
And I came home.
And I wept.
Forget my street cred.
I miss her. I love her.
She will always be my little baby.

I'm no parenting guru. I just laughed as I wrote that line. No, I'm stumbling and bumbling along but I'd love to share an ephiphany I learned not that long ago. Coming to this realization was incredibly painful but simultaneously, liberating. To be honest, it was the ultimate game-changer in my understanding as a parent seeking after the heart of God.

While there are many methods, tools, philosophies, and biblical principles to parenting, there is – in my opinion – only one purpose or destination.

Our purpose as parents is to eventually…release them. Send forth. For His glory. Met a friend and fellow pastor who I haven't seen in over 20 years. In him, I saw a glimpse of my future. While only 10 years older, his kids are married and he's now a grandfather of 3. His love for his wife and family were so evident and his passion for the Gospel has not wavered. It was so good to see someone a bit older still passionately serving the Lord with such joy and faithfulness. Lord, help me to keep running the race for your Glory. Happy wife.
Happy life. - Eugenius 3:16

I still remember that time, many years ago, when Minhee was pregnant with our first child. She had left her family and friends in Korea just two years before. Her morning sickness was horrible and when she finally had an appetite, she craved her favorite Korean food from certain restaurants in her neighborhood in Seoul, Korea. I had no way of getting that food from those restaurants so I actually said, "How about a Whopper? Big Mac?" Sorry honey. Eat away. You deserve it. I don't care if it sounds mushy but sunsets are one of my love languages. Seoul, Korea was amazing but WOW...what a breathtaking welcome back sunset by Seattle. Not ready to let go of summer.

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