A TRUST BETRAYED
The First World War began in August 1914, and by the time it has ended entire cultures had changes drastically, countries’ borders had moved back and forth several times and millions of people’s lives had been altered forever.
Within only a few months of the start of this war, the embattled sides had settled into a system of trench warfare based on a strategy of attrition (where the last man standing ‘won’), and the war trudged on for 4 remorseless years.
In contrast to the brutality, the story is told that on Christmas Eve, 1914, a soldier looked up at the clear night time sky and saw a bright star shining above him. It reminded him of the story his mother had told him as a young child about the Star of Bethlehem when angels appeared to shepherds on a momentous evening declaring, “Peace on earth, and goodwill towards men”.
The Bible instructs us that in the Garden of Eden, long before the birth of Jesus, two special beings created in the image and likeness of those who made them had broken their special relationship with their Creator. A friendship based on trust was betrayed. It could not be put back to what originally it had once been.
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PRECIPITATED BY PRIDE
The wrongdoing, precipitated by pride followed by disobedience, were the causes of the breakdown of a once intimate relationship they enjoyed with their Creator. It tore them away and prevented them from returning to a life of abund ance, security, harmony and well-being. Consequently, they were banished from paradise. They would now have ‘go it alone’.
As the soldier pondered these thoughts, it seemed to him that humanity’s first representatives on earth reflected a reality about the deepest part of their very being – deeply selfish, and therefore crave only the best for themselves first and foremost. The pursuit of self-interest inevitably results in distrust and conflict. Moreover, it always produces a cycle of conflict fed by pride, greed and selfish ambition.
LIVING THE NIGHTMARE
Looking at his own present circumstances in the trenches the soldier pondered further. He realized that peace and goodwill are the hallmarks of friendship. But it is a relationship, and when friends fall out, that relationship is broken. One or both the sides do not honour their part of it, or they feel that their expectations or needs have been overlooked, betrayed or abused.
When this happens, what once was a healthy, engaging and growing relationship of trust is replaced with a relationship of mistrust, fear, revenge and hostility. Two sides at war – enemies; when before, they had been friends. He was now living that nightmare under the star-filled night!