As a Christian, I proclaim myself that first.  Sure, I’m an American, and Iowan, a conservative in most modes of thought, and certainly a husband and father.  But, the Almighty is my first focus and the rest comes second.  This choice informs all my others.  Which is to say, I’m easily predictable in this way, but hopefully honest.  At least I try to be.  As much as I try, I’m still not sinless, so never think of me, or another, this way.  We get into a heap of trouble when we do that.

Many of us are gathered together today, Easter Sunday, for time with family, sharing, caring, fellowship, and worship.  When I ponder Easter and all the things I grapple with understanding, I often wonder about the physical sacrifices made by Christ.  Being thrashed and bludgeoned, nearly unrecognizable, then crucified, is not an easy way to go.  All with a huge audience enthusiastically cheering for your demise preceded by tremendous humiliation.  Those are simply physical things, which would be plenty enough to do us all in.  What about the mental aspect of this?  Knowing you’d need to withstand all this, combined with the betrayal of your own that leads to this end, is a burden most minds can’t fathom.

But…  This is my attempt at seeing through Christ’s perspective, possibly.  Have you ever thought about what it was like to look at this through the Father’s eyes?  I’m not proud to admit that I have hated people.  We’re commanded against this, yet I have.  Now, juxtapose that with the love of your child.  Could I take my child, which I love so much I can’t adequately express it, and offer this beautiful creation in trade to save the life of the person I hate?  I don’t know how I could possibly do that.  Yet, God’s Son was perfect, and He traded His Son to save us all from the thing he hated – sin.  Imagine for a minute what that could have felt like…  Can you sense it?

Life is so precious to us and is a gift.  We are to shepherd it, foster it, protect it, and love it.  We are to defend it.  When people ask me, “Michael, how can you proclaim yourself a Christian, and carry a gun?”  My answer?  Because I love Him and the lives He’s offered so much, I’m willing to consider a tool to stop the threat to another human life.  I’m also ready to immediately pivot to life-saving mode once the threat has been stopped.

We’re able to make these decisions and are free to consider these choices, which are up to us to discern because He offered the sacrifice.  I think about that all the time.  As you share time with family and friends today, consider His sacrifice and think about yours as well.  We all have much we can give.  The questions stemming from these precepts are reduced to very basic things then.  What are you going to give?  What are you going to sacrifice and why?  Contemplate this carefully.  May His love permeate you and his Spirit work through you.