Recently I was back home. Back home is southwestern Indiana. Since my last time home the man I am talking about now passed away but his memory will live on. ( Just a note this is not a picture of him)
Just some thoughts:
I am a bit sketchy on the following story. I had first heard some of the story when I was a teenage boy. Years later one afternoon I had the good fortune to sit with the man the story is told about. I once got him to share just a bit of the story. He was far too modest to share much in detail.
This friend lets just call him Tom was an officer in WW II. (No this is not his picture) He was serving in Germany during the war. He and his men a number of times came under heavy fire. One story he shared with me without question he felt they all would be killed that very night. That's a story for another time.
After a considerable time in Germany he was appointed by high command to be in charge of a prisoner of war camp there in a German community.This was a camp where Germans would be captured, brought and kept during the duration of the war.
After the war was over this officer and men from his command each year would gather for a reunion. They would meet at various locations through out the United States. As the number of veterans solider's under his command started to decreased it was decided they would have a reunion in Germany near the village, town where the prisoner of war camp had once been.
Some way or another word got out in this German community that this captain and a number of his American soldiers who had been in charge at this prisoner of war camp would be returning there for a reunion. Word continued to circulate among many of those German solider's who had once been prisoners there.
When the American captain and his soldiers met for their reunion to their surprise many former prisoners showed up at this gathering. They came to pay their respects and say a thank you to this captain and his men. Many of those German soldiers said they owed their lives to this man for the kindness and respect he had shown them while they were "enemies of his state." Also, years later this man continued to receive letters of thanks from others who had been housed in that camp.
I think scripture goes something like :"Live your life so even your enemies have good things to say about you."
"And let your way of life be beautiful before all children of men, those who speak wicked words of you, that they may see your beautiful works and praise God in the day of examination."
I Peter 2:12
Sadly for me and many others this man just recently passed away.
But what a memory for his family and friends to carry with them. I will never hear his name without recalling his good deeds. I know I am not alone in this thought. Is there anything better that could be said of one as they are laid to rest than "your enemies liked you?"
I don't think so.
September 19, 2016