Recovering SEALs

Anyone out there read “Lone Survivor”? It’s a book about 4 Navy SEALs that get dropped into Afghanistan to take out a Taliban leader.  At one point they cross paths with some shepherds and have to decide if they’re going to kill them in cold blood, or let them go and take a huge risk.  They let them go.  The shepherds go back and tell their Taliban buddies, and all hell breaks loose.

Three of the SEALs die in the ensuing firefight. One gets taken in by a villager and lives to tell the tale.  But here’s the part of the story that’s been sticking in my head this week:

At the end of it all, the armed forces send SEALs back in to recover the bodies of their fallen comrades. Even though the fight took place over a 7-mile stretch of mountains, they search until they find them, and they bring them home.  They couldn’t take the risk of deserting a living soldier, but even if they knew they were dead, they’d still go back.

This made me reflect on life: what do we do to people who make mistakes in life that lead to emotional or relational injury? What do we do to our friends or fellow human beings that screw up? Are we determined to go out there and find them and bring them home, dead or alive?  Do we treat them with grace?  Or do we say things like:

“It’s their life.”

“Sometimes you have to pay for the decisions you make.”

“You reap what you sow.”

Or even worse, do we look through the scope of our sniper rifle from our position of safety, pick them out where they’ve fallen in enemy territory, and shoot them in the head ourselves with slander and gossip?

I can think of some people that I helped rescue from behind enemy lines, and it was awesome.  I can also think of some folks I left for dead – it’s a shameful feeling.

Brett Harrison referred to this idea on his blog a week or so ago (I think), but I couldn’t find the post.  Check out his blog HERE.

8 Replies to “Recovering SEALs”

  1. I have a friend making very bad decisions. She wants to feel justified and thinks everyone should see things her way. At least when the SEALs made that fateful decision, they did it knowing they would have to take the consequenses – good or bad. Life is so much more complicated than when I would daydream about it as a kid…

  2. Yeah, good point. I think it might be a little bit different if someone is running into enemy territory and doesn’t want to be “recovered”.

    1. sometimes you need to run into enemy territory to see why that loved one needs to go there. when they feel unjudged by friends and family for their seemingly “poor” choices, they can begin to explore and see.

  3. On the way home yesterday I heard this Mark Wills song (written by Allen Shamblin/Steve Seskin). Its called “Don’t Laugh At Me”. The second verse lyrics are:
    “I’m the cripple on the corner
    You’ve passed me on the street
    And I wouldn’t be out here beggin’
    If I had enough to eat
    And don’t think I don’t notice
    That our eyes never meet
    I lost my wife and little boy when
    Someone cross that yellow line
    The day we laid them in the ground
    Is the day I lost my mind
    And right now I’m down to holdin’
    This little cardboard sign…so

    Don’t laugh at me
    Don’t call me names
    Don’t get your pleasure from my pain
    In God’s eyes we’re all the same
    Someday we’ll all have perfect wings
    Don’t laugh at me”

    I remember thinking “what a great message”. Then I read your post this morning. Will the man in this song really get his “perfect wings” just because no one was mean to him? By not laughing at him, did I do enough to earn my “perfect wings”? Thanks for question…and the answer.

  4. I had a situation happen recently with a Christian friend. I could see that he was were clearly in the wrong with another person who was not a Christian. My friend was definitely in enemy territory and didn’t even realize it, and after I confronted him his eyes were opened. This doesn’t happen as much as it should in my life, probably because it takes time to rescue someone. It is a lot easier to push someone under the bus, and when we do this we always feal miserable.

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