Life Through the Lens: On the meaning of sacrifice
Kevin Schrapel reflects ahead of Anzac Day.
This post was contributed by Kevin Schrapel, and is the author’s personal opinion.
Through overuse and misuse, words that once had an obvious and definitive meaning are often used in ways that almost demean the word, and they lose the depth of meaning, and we lose the passion that once came with a word.
Such a word is “sacrifice”.
“To sacrifice” used to mean an act of denying self for the better good of another individual or group; to surrender one’s perceived or absolute rights so that another might benefit.
Generally, such an act could and often did bring pain to the one making the sacrifice.
Last weekend, over the Easter celebration, the word “sacrifice” was used a lot, as we remembered the sacrifice Jesus, the son of God, made so that all people could again be friends with the God of the Bible.
Over the last month, we have read about people in Ukraine sacrificing lives, privileges and comfort to hold onto their country, their communities, their families and the right to be free.
Do we who are so concerned about what shops might be closed over three or four days, or who will win the footy, even imagine what sacrifice means to those people?
This Monday, “sacrifice” will again be used.
For some, it will carry all the pain of what a loved one gave up so we can live our lives in peace and harmony.
I realise that there are those around us who will justifiably say, as the lone mother beds her children down in a car, the parent who goes without pain medication so their child does not feel the pain of hunger, “there isn’t much hope in my life”.
Maybe if we could, even in some small measure, all be prepared to sacrifice even a little, the mother would have a home, there would be medication for all, the lonely would no longer despair because they feel no one cares.
Jesus calls for sacrifice: “love your neighbour as yourself”, and even “love your enemies”.
But he doesn’t expect us to attempt these acts on our own.
Jesus gives the power to follow his way, to do all things (Philippians 4:13), to have endurance like Jesus (Romans 15:5), to love like Jesus (John 13:34-35).
Is it time to again honour the original depth of meaning of this word that stood for much more than self, the word that highlighted man’s grandeur and gave noble thoughts and deeds the recognition this word deserves?
Maybe we should again join sacrifice with forgiveness, love, and care.
Talk to God about what “sacrifice” might mean in your daily life.
God bless you.
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