Code of Honor


Lone Survivor

Recently I saw the movie, Lone Survivor. And while theaters in Texas are canceling other movies to make way to show more of this picture, I want to share with you my spiritual insights on this film. Let me give you a brief story line.

It’s an astounding tale about US Navy Seals in Afghanistan during a military operation and their code of honor. These men are simply amazing! Their stamina, strength, and endurance are all phenomenal. I don’t know if you’ve listened to the Shulamite Podcast episodes where we discussed the Discovery Channel’s program Surviving the Cut, but the men in this movie were just like the ones vetted in that show. They’re the best of the best!

Well, these men live by a military code. They rely on it. This code unifies them as a brotherhood.  And during this film you see it tested and proven to the bitter end. Though Lone Survivor is raw and violent, I recommend it. It’s greatly impacting and made me feel honored to be an American with such beautiful men standing on our walls.

The Navy Seals’ code of honor is established by their military training. To live by a code, you must exist by that set standard. A code has to be law, or the code is not real. Literally, a code is a rule of living and a belief system for which you’re willing to die. If you fluctuate within the breeze of circumstance, then you don’t have an actual code. A code is unchanging, unwavering and deeply entrenched. It’s the standard and foundation in which you choose to stand.

But you know, oddly enough, we all live by a code. How can I say that we all live by a code?  It’s simple—because we do.  Our code might not be a military sense of duty, or a tribal sense of honor, but we all do live by a standard that gages our lives, values and actions. Our personal code might be to self, to family or to a religious group – you fill in your blank – but it is there. And it doesn’t have to be noble.

In my past, I have had a code of saving self. All others were sacrificed to my goal. I, quite frankly, feared death and I did everything I could to avoid it. It was an ingrained code, an established belief, all to save self. True it’s a tremendously sad and rather paltry regulation to honor, but it was mine.

My point is that we all have a code – maybe unspoken, but all together real. We each live by it and we defend it with every resource we have available. So this is why we must know what our established code is—because we will sacrifice everything else for it.

So as I reflect on these valiant men portrayed in this film, I think about the firmness of my own code.  And my current code to honor is something that I am willing to lay my life down for – and do. If you know me well, you know it.  I evidence it every day. It’s higher than my wretched self-saving vow; it’s now in Christ’s Life and choice for me.

A code for self is simple and lazy. Lie back, and it will just happen.  Though it will cost you everything of true life, it will cost you nothing in giving. Yet a true moral code is for something higher than self, and it will be tested! It has to be, to be strengthened.

Ask Christ what your established code is.  If everyone around you is going to pay for it to be lived out, isn’t it important to know what it is exactly? Though it will be tested, it will also be proved, and if it is of Christ, it will be Divinely Eternal.

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    • Andrea

      I have not yet seen the film but I did see, on 60 minutes, an interview with the gentleman who brought the story home, and I saw how living by the code tore him wide open, how he remains torn wide open ….the cost to him has been huge ….there is a cost … are we even willing to consider that??? let alone accept it?? let alone seek it out ??
      thanks John for sharing …

    • Sam

      “Ask Christ what your established code is. If everyone around you is going to pay for it to be lived out, isn’t it important to know what it is exactly? Though it will be tested, it will also be proved, and if it is of Christ, it will be Divinely Eternal.”

      This is JUST plainly amazing, John. Thank you. It is true that everyone around pays for our own code. This is so true.

      (Will try to see this film).

      • Sam

        While watching, I got these thoughts that in war death is really just another actor. That those in war must confront death from this point of view, not being really any other point of view. Not just “a bad thing” or a “bad day” but death belongs to your every day life. In a war enviroment you deal with death as much as you deal with life. You completely embraze it, and you must submit to it. And accept it as part of a greater picture.

        This made me think of the Christian life. That “this game” at this side of the picture, to get along with God in the basis of faith you embraze death daily. It goes in the package.

        Paul had some strong words regarding that line:

        “[I assure you] (…) that I die daily [I face death every day and die to self].” (1 Cor 15:31, Amplified)

        Jesus also was announcing it from the very beginning to His disciples. “I have to die”, and His own travail of death was the summit of His servanthood. Like if submitting Himself to death was the proof of His whole purpose when coming here. Somehow, death (understood as “LOSS”) is so intrincated in His nature.

        What the interviewer cannot get is that death belongs to the one in war as much as life does. He just does not understand the role of authority, death and life.

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