Golfer Grayson Murray died by suicide

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Golfer Grayson Murray died by suicide

A Memorial Day reflection on death and our best service to our country

May 27, 2024 -

Army Pvt. II Dylan Conway, 19, of Mason, Mich., of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, also known as The Old Guard, places flags at grave sites at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Thursday, May 22, 2014, as part of the annual "Flags-In" ceremony in preparation for Memorial Day. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Army Pvt. II Dylan Conway, 19, of Mason, Mich., of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, also known as The Old Guard, places flags at grave sites at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Thursday, May 22, 2014, as part of the annual "Flags-In" ceremony in preparation for Memorial Day. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Army Pvt. II Dylan Conway, 19, of Mason, Mich., of the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment, also known as The Old Guard, places flags at grave sites at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, Va., Thursday, May 22, 2014, as part of the annual "Flags-In" ceremony in preparation for Memorial Day. (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

“I am at a loss for words. The PGA Tour is a family, and when you lose a member of your family, you are never the same.” This is how PGA Tour commissioner Jay Monahan responded to the death on Saturday of professional golfer Grayson Murray at the age of thirty. Yesterday, his family announced that he had died by suicide. In tomorrow’s Daily Article, I plan to discuss his passing in the context of his recent commitment to Christ.

Grayson’s death is not the only tragedy in this morning’s news:

  • The Papua New Guinea government says a landslide Friday buried more than two thousand people alive and is formally asking for international help.
  • Tornadoes and storms left at least eighteen dead across the central US.
  • Gaza authorities are claiming that Israeli airstrikes killed at least thirty-five Palestinian civilians in a Rafah tent camp.

On this Memorial Day, however, I want to focus on our country’s annual remembrance of the more than one million men and women who died in military service to our country. While every untimely passing is tragic, their deaths are different.

“They gave the last full measure of devotion”

America is not an autocracy like Russia, where soldiers are conscripted into wars they and their fellow citizens have no voice in choosing. We elect the leaders who represent us when they choose to go to war; our taxes support our military; our soldiers are volunteers.

Every member of the military you have ever met took a personal oath to defend you “against all enemies, foreign and domestic.” It is their service and ultimately their sacrifice that enables our way of life.

US Army veteran Charles Michael Province observed:

It is the Soldier, not the minister
Who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the Soldier, not the reporter
Who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the Soldier, not the poet
Who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the Soldier, not the campus organizer
Who has given us freedom to protest.
It is the Soldier, not the lawyer
Who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the Soldier, not the politician
Who has given us the right to vote.
It is the Soldier who salutes the flag,
Who serves beneath the flag,
And whose coffin is draped by the flag,
Who allows the protester to burn the flag.

In turn, we owe them, in the immortal words of Abraham Lincoln, “increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion.”

I will always remember meeting a veteran whose face and hands were scarred by burns sustained in combat and telling him that our country owes him a debt we cannot pay. He replied, “Just make this a country worth dying for.”

How do we do this?

Why Christians make good citizens

The first step to being such a country is recognizing that no one is truly “worth dying for.”

There are many people for whom I would die, but none who are so perfect that their life is objectively and empirically worth my death. I would die for them because I love them, not because they are so lovable as to earn or demand my sacrifice. Nor am I worthy of the sacrifice of others for me.

This is especially and adamantly true of our relationship with our Savior. He chose to die for us, not because we deserved his vicarious and atoning sacrifice, but because he “is” love (1 John 4:8). Now, when we submit to the Holy Spirit, he manifests the character of Christ in us (Romans 8:29; Galatians 5:22–23), molding us into our best versions of ourselves. We are still not worthy of our Father’s love, but we are better able to reflect it to our lost and broken world.

As Justin Martyr (AD c. 100–165) claimed in writing to the Roman emperor, Christians make good citizens. The more we know Christ and the more we make him known, the more we enable America to be the best she can be. This is because, as the psalmist declared, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lᴏʀᴅ (Psalm 33:12).

Accordingly, the best way we can serve our American democracy is to live in a personal theocracy. As George Washington noted:

“To the distinguished character of Patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian.”

We serve best those who live under the laws of humans by obeying the laws of God.

“The noblest development of mankind”

On May 12, 1962, General of the Army Douglas MacArthur told West Point cadets:

The soldier, above all other men, is required to practice the greatest act of religious training—sacrifice. In battle and in the face of danger and death, he discloses those divine attributes which his Maker gave when he created man in his own image. No physical courage and no brute instinct can take the place of the Divine help which alone can sustain him. However horrible the incidents of war may be, the soldier who is called upon to offer and to give his life for his country is the noblest development of mankind.

How will you honor their commitment to America with your own?

Monday news to know:

Quote for the day:

“It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God.” —George Washington

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