A Christian Response to Bowe Bergdahl’s Liberation and Homecoming

BOWE RELEASE ANNOUNCEMENT

(photo from http://www.supportbowe.org)

While rejoicing over the news that Bowe Bergdahl has been rescued, many in our country are turning away from that joy and instead are focusing on reports that look more like condemnation.  Many Americans, including soldiers, at least as the Press writes it, want justice, want vengeance, want retribution, not against the people who imprisoned Bowe Bergdahl, but instead against Bergdahl himself for the claims of desertion and for payback for the lives of the soldiers who died trying to save him.

I have no inside information.  I grieve for each and every American’s life lost in Afghanastan.  And I think the Press’s allegations against Bergdahl are serious indeed.

Oh, how I rejoiced as I watched Bergdahl’s precious parents address him on national TV!  To have a son gone for all those years under those circumstances, and then to hear he has been rescued!  What unspeakable joy!

So what is a girl to do?   Celebration or justice?  Grief or joy?

I believe the answer to the second question is grief AND joy.  And the answer to the first question?  From Chapter 15 of the Book of Luke out of the NAS Bible”

11And He said, “A man had two sons.12The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.’ So he divided his wealth between them.13And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living.14Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished.15So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine.16And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him.17But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger!18I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight;19I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.”‘20So he got up and came to his father.

But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him.

21And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’22

But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet;23and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate;24for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate.

25“Now his older son was in the field, and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing.26And he summoned one of the servants and began inquiring what these things could be.27And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound.’28But he became angry and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him.29But he answered and said to his father, ‘Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends;30but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him. 
31And he said to him, ‘Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours.32But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.'” 
and
1Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. 2Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, “This man receives sinners and eats with them.”

3So He told them this parable, saying, 4“What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it?
5When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing.6And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, ‘Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!
7I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.
 
Please keep in mind, we don’t know the details of Bowe Bergdahl’s separation from his unit.  We don’t know if he is a prodigal American son or a hero.  We do know from the video of him in captivity that he really wanted to come home.  The scripture above is in light of the accusations and speculation flying around right now.  I believe that even in the worst case scenario in these regards, we should be preparing a joyful celebration for Bowe’s return.  Obviously we can argue semantics over the Scripture all day long, but if you press in to the Scripture to hear God’s heart on the matter, you can’t help but see the direct corollary here.  Bowe was dead and has begun to live, he was lost and has been found.
Welcome Home, Bowe!
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