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Two weeks prior to U.S. Marine Sergeant Nicole Gee’s tragic death outside the Kabul airport in Afghanistan, she was photographed compassionately embracing an innocent infant. The child’s name is unknown. However, we do know why Sgt. Gee dared to serve and support. “I love my job,” she posted with the photo on her Instagram account one week prior to a suicide bomb attack that killed Sgt. Gee and 12 other U.S. soldiers. But what this cowardly act can never erase is the thing that propelled Sgt. Gee to serve and that is love or agape.

Agape is a self-sacrificing love that may result in the ultimate sacrifice.  Regent University’s Dr. Bruce Winston describes agape as “a moral sense, embracing the judgement and the deliberate assent of the will as a matter of principle, duty, and propriety.” Plainly put, agape is doing the right thing, at the right time, and with the right motives: compassion, courage and commitment.

The parable of the Good Samaritan provides us with a global prospective of agape. A certain man, as the story goes, was attacked by a robber and left half dead in the middle of a road. Two esteemed people walked down that same street at different times and decided to do nothing.  As fate would have it, a Samaritan showed up and refused to allow another human being to suffer. This man of modest means had first: compassion to connect. Second, the Samaritan had courage to care.  Thirdly, the Samaritan had  commitment to create opportunities. It wasn’t enough for this Samaritan to be compassionate and courageous; the Samaritan helped the man get back on his feet and committed to helping him in the future.

Martin Luther King Jr. reminds us that, “You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”  So, in the Agape spirit of love, Never Give Up! Never Give Up! Never Give Up!

By Chaplain Ghosten