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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stuff, connect, info

One Day’s Wages

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41 years ago today, our family immigrated to the United States from Seoul, South Korea. I was six years old; the youngest of three sons. My father, when he was also six, fled from what is now known as North Korea. Just recently, he shared with me that he and some of his family had been in a refugee camp when war and violence broke out on the Korean peninsula. It's emotional thinking about what my brothers and I went through coming to a completely foreign country. It wasn't easy. And then, I think about what my parents had to go through:

They fled their homes near Pyongyang which also meant leaving some of their extended families.

They experienced unfathomable hunger and poverty.

They experienced the pain of war.

They immigrated again to the United States as adults with minimal resources and a handful of English words.

All in hopes that their children would have the opportunities that were never afforded to them.

I'm thinking of my brothers today. I'm thinking of my parents and honoring them for their sacrifice and tenacity. And finally, I'm thinking of refugees and immigrants all around the world that are yearning for family, peace, hope, and opportunities. Don't reduce Martin Luther King Jr. to a yearly quote on social media. Live out the dream. Seek first the Kingdom of God. Confront evil. Be a truth-teller. Seek justice. Love mercy. Pursue reconciliation. Build bridges. Love your neighbors. Forgive your enemies. Pray unceasingly. Live a committed life of peace, love, and justice.

The God who deposited this dream into MLK is still speaking to us today.

Be brave. "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." ~ Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Here's the full context of his famous quote: "The ultimate weakness of violence is that it is a descending spiral, begetting the very thing it seeks to destroy. Instead of diminishing evil, it multiplies it. Through violence you may murder the liar, but you cannot murder the lie, nor establish the truth. Through violence you murder the hater, but you do not murder hate. In fact, violence merely increases hate. Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that." An important word for the Church... Oh, how God loves the nations. The Scriptures make this so clear. No one - let alone, the leader of a country - should ever disparage other nations with such a disgusting comment.

To the beautiful people of Haiti, El Salvador, and of the many countries of Africa: We are so sorry. Please accept our apologies on behalf of President Trump.

I've had the privilege of being in Haiti twice and numerous countries in Africa including Kenya where I took this picture during an afternoon drive near Kijabe. In many of these visits, I witnessed such creativity, courage, leadership, hospitality and kindness. To follow Jesus without obedience, repentance, self-denial, and dying to self is an oxymoron. In other words, are we more in love with the idea of following Jesus than actually following Jesus?

Grateful for an incredible Sunday at @seattlequest of beginning our 21 Days of Prayer and Fasting.

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