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

My Instagram

Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. Thanks for your prayers. 
I have numerous stories to share but for now, the following came up in every conversation with Iraqi/Syrian refugees:

1 Have tea with us. Or coffee. Or juice. Or something with lots of sugar in it. Or better yet, all of the above.
2 We want peace. We want security. 
3 We hate ISIS. 
4 We just want to go home.
5 Please don't forget us.

Please don't forget them... Father, please bless and protect these Iraqi and Syrian "refugee" children that have already endured so much. Protect their hearts and mind from unfathomable trauma. Plant seeds of hope and vision in their lives. And as we pray for them, teach us how to advocate for them. Amen. "We don't call them refugees. We call them relatives. We don't call them camps but centers. Dignity is so important." -  local Iraqi priest whose church has welcomed many "relatives" to their church's property

It's always a privilege to be invited into peoples' home for tea - even if it's a temporary tent. This is an extended Yezidi family that fled the Mosul, Iraq area because of ISIS. It's indeed true that Christians were targeted by ISIS and thatbstory muat be shared but other minority groups like the Yezidis were also targeted. Some of their heartbreaking stories included the kidnapping of their sister. They shared that their father passed away shortly of a "broken heart." The conversation was emotional but afterwards, we asked each other for permission to take photos. Once the selfies came out, the real smiles came out.

So friends: Pray for Iraq. Pray for the persecuted Church. Pray for Christians, minority groups like the Yezidis who fear they will e completely wiped out in the Middle East,, and Muslims alike who are all suffering under ISIS. Friends: I'm traveling in the Middle East this week - Iraq, Lebanon, and Jordan. (Make sure you follow my pics/stories on IG stories). Specifically, I'm here representing @onedayswages to meet, learn, and listen to pastors, local leaders, NGOs, and of course directly from refugees from within these countries - including many from Syria.

For security purposes, I haven't been able to share at all but I'm now able to start sharing some photos and stories. For now, I'll be sharing numerous photos through my IG stories and will be sharing some longer written pieces in couple months when ODW launches another wave of partnerships to come alongside refugees in these areas. Four of us are traveling together also for the purpose of creating a short documentary that we hope to release early next year.

While I'm on my church sabbatical, it's truly a privilege to be able to come to these countries and to meet local pastors and indigenous leaders that tirelessly pursue peace and justice, and to hear directly from refugees. I've read so many various articles and pieces over the years and I thought I was prepared but it has been jarring, heartbreaking,  and gut wrenching. In the midst of such chaos, there's hope but there's also a lot of questions, too.

I hope you follow along as I share photos, stories, and help release this mini-documentary. Please tag friends that might be interested.

Please pray for safety, for empathy, for humility and integrity, for divine meetings. Pray that we listen well; To be present and not just be a consumer of these vulnerable stories. That's my biggest prayer.

Special thanks to @worldvisionusa and @worldrelief for hosting us on this journey. 9/11
Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.

Today, I had some gut wrenching and heart breaking conversations about war, violence, and peacemaking. Mostly, I listened. Never in my wildest imagination did I envision having these conversations on 9/11 of all days. I wish I could share more now but I hope to later after I process them for a few days.

But indeed: Never forget.
And never stop working for peace.
May it be so. Amen. Mount Rainier is simply epic. There's nothing like flying in and out of Seattle.

#mountrainier
#seattle
#northwestisbest

my tweets

  • Boom. Final fishing trip. Grateful. A nice way to end my 3 month sabbatical. #catchandrelease twitter.com/i/web/status/9… || 20 hours ago
  • Christians: May we be guided by the Scriptures that remind us, "Seek first the Kingdom of God" and not, "Seek first the kingdom of America." || 21 hours ago
  • Every convo with Iraqi/Syrian refugees included: 1 Have tea with us 2 We want peace 3 We hate ISIS 4 We want to go home 5 Don't forget us || 3 days ago
  • Back safely from Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan to assess @OneDaysWages' partnerships & to film mini-documentary on refugee crisis. So many emotions. || 3 days ago
  • Pray for Mexico. For those mourning loved ones. For those fighting for life - even under rubbles. For rescue workers. Lord, in your mercy. || 3 days ago
  • Don't underestimate what God can do through you. God has a very long history of using foolish and broken people for His purposes and glory. || 6 days ago