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Is it Wrong for a Christian to Celebrate Memorial Day?


This is my tribute to Peace.

Tomorrow I will celebrate a day set-aside to remember those who have given a great sacrifice to preserve the freedom that we Americans take for granted.

Anyone who is familiar with my writings may stop and wonder if what I am doing isn’t hypocritical to a stance that I take concerning non-resistance and peacemaking. I believe that many, consequently, read into my position more than I actually state. I too grieve for the loss of all the many lives that have been sacrificed in the name of freedom. The freedom that I enjoy as a citizen of the experiment, known as The United States of America, was bought and preserved by the blood of many of my fellowmen and brothers and sisters.

Many of my friends differ with me on my position, but it is only due to their lack of understanding of what Jesus taught in the New Testament. If they would cast off their traditions they too would see as I see. Jesus does not compel us to turn away from our brothers and sisters who serve or have served in the armed forces, whose government was set in place by God Himself; they too need to hear the true Gospel of peace instituted by Jesus. The freedom we experience is from God, as taught by Paul in Romans 13, so to appreciate the armed forces of this government, instituted by God, is to be an obedient follower.

I, too, can celebrate the gift of freedom; and I feel very fortunate to have my home in the USA. I, too, can mourn the loss of those lives given in their pursuit to maintain this freedom. This is in no way hypocritical to my stance as a Non-resistant peacemaker. I would dare say that I appreciate, a little more than most, the huge cost of such freedom, because I have witnessed it up close and personal.

As a follower of Christ, converted after my service in Vietnam, I now believe that it is inconsistent with the teachings of Jesus to take another person’s life, one created in the image of, his or her, God. I am nowhere instructed to despise these individuals, but rather to love them, as Jesus did. Christ died for these soldiers, to show them, and everyone, that there is a better way, a way of peace, love, forgiveness, mercy, and self-sacrifice. Despise them!? No I cannot do that. The mysterious ways of God is to bring peace, through a life of peace. True peace can never be won at the end of a gun. You cannot put out fire with fire. Evil must be overcome with good.

I love our service men and women, and pray for their conversion, so that they too can be shown how true peace can be brought to the world, even those who they now call, “the enemy.”

I am not a pacifist like those who march on Washington, or like those who protest outside government buildings, or complain about their rights, or the Tea Party advocates, or tax protester, or protest capital punishment, or “Occupy Wall Street”; Jesus never did any of these things; He simply overcame evil by doing good, even to His enemies.

Memorial Day is a day of remembrance, and I also remember what death does to a family who loses a loved one; and I remember what death does to the one who kills; he also dies inside, a living death. The answer to both of these dilemmas is the peace that passes all knowledge” which is imparted to the one who accepts the free gift of peace with God,” given to anyone who sincerely seeks the “Prince of peace Jesus.

May this Memorial Day bring you eternal Peace.

Steve Blackwell

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