Theirs not to make reply.

Theirs not to reason why. Theirs but to do and die. Into the valley of Death rode the six hundred.

exerpt from The Charge of the Light Brigade by Alfred Lord Tennyson

That tidbit has been buzzing around in my head for months. Sometimes we’re duty-bound to do things we don’t like. Or worse. In the context of the poem, the soldiers didn’t question orders, even when they knew things looked exceedingly bleak. They were correct too. A good portion of them didn’t return from their mission. They knew they were riding into oblivion, yet they carried forward.

Have you ever wondered about circumstances where a sin appears to be the only logical response to a choice? I know that sounds odd, believe me. Considering sin is never a response the Almighty accepts, how does this balance?

For instance, you find yourself and your family on an airliner that gets hijacked by terrorists. They hand you a gun with one bullet and point machine guns at your family. They put to you this, “If you don’t shoot this passenger, we’ll shoot your entire family!” You neither can use the weapon on yourself nor the passenger, as both are sins. Does this mean you have to decline to act and watch your family dispatched? As far as I can tell, the answer to that kind of question is “YES” whether we like it or not.

I’m guessing the only thing you might be able to do is pop off one round into a terrorist in an effort to stop the killing of passengers. Self-defense isn’t a sin. But, knowing your family will likely cross over is the reality you’d face.

I don’t think we give much thought to the nature of sin, what sin represents, and just how crucial it is that we avoid it in total. Could you stand by helpless and witness your family killed because you were unwilling to sin? That’s a pretty heavy ask, but God still expects it. Could you do it? I want to believe I could, but you never know. The point of this mental exercise isn’t to plummet your mood. But I assure you if you don’t think through the choices associated with sin, you’re ill-prepared to handle them when they undoubtedly present themselves to you. Think about that.

I pray you to be both Salt and Light.

Feature pic attribution: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:StatueOfTennyson.jpg

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