To be trapped in a life and death situation is thankfully something most of you reading these words will never have to experience. I thought after being a cop I would have endured all the drama I would ever encounter in those situations. That was true until I became a missionary. Serving overseas in developing nations, I had to run roadblocks set in place by outlaws, endure machine guns being pointed at me, and once escaped from a riot situation with the help of secret police where tens of thousands of violent demonstrators were destroying the building where Jan and I and other believers met to worship.
This morning, I listened to the sad news regarding hundreds of Americans left behind in our departure from Afghanistan. I want to move past political commentary and imagine what it would feel like to be abandoned in such a place of great evil where your blood can be spilled as an act of revenge and hatred with no way to escape.
Leaving no one behind is a concept that should be found in the fabric of each decision we make in our national politics and policies. It also applies to life within the Church. We should never leave anyone behind in a hopeless situation, no matter who they are or what they believe. If we belong to the Body of Christ, we should be all in for each other. Leaving no one behind is the fruit of a decision-making process that requires honor as the filter through which our decisions are forced to pass before their execution. This is an honor higher than our theologies, doctrines, and worship preferences.
I remember those horrifying moments overseas when I felt helpless and alone. Whether the rescue came solely from the hand of God, or by others sent by God to rescue me, the relief that came knowing I was not forgotten and I was about to be free is an emotion hard to explain to those who have never experienced such trauma.
Today, I want to look across the relationships in my life to see if anyone needs rescuing. These are not always large and dramatic interventions where the potential for a deadly outcome is present. It can be something simple like a comment we offer to rescue someone from a combative and dishonoring social media thread or a conversation that has devolved into the sewer of gossip and we choose to jump in the gutter and come to the aid of the victim. It can also mean choosing to do what leaders in civil government or leaders within the Church fail to do because honor was not present when making life and death decisions about people under their care who are trapped in helpless and hopeless situations. On our watch, no one should ever feel alone and without hope.