Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The Mark of a True Man - Heroes of Aurora

As stories emerge from the deadly shooting at Aurora, Colorado, one theme is being repeated - heroic sacrifice. At least four young men gave their lives protecting their girlfriends.

Alex Tevez and Amanda Lindgren
The first story was of a young man by the name of Alex Tevez. He had just turned 24 and had recently finished graduate school in Denver. When the shooting started he pulled his girlfriend, Amanda Lindgren, to the ground and covered her with his body. Family members expressed that this was what they would have expected him to do - it reflected who he was as a person. 

Jonathon Blunk and Jansen Young
Then there was Jonathon Blunk. Jon pushed his girlfriend under a seat to shield her from the bullets, telling her to "Stay down!" He was a soldier who was planning on re-enlisting. He had told his girlfriend, Jansen Young, "I was born to serve my country." When she exited the theater unharmed she said, "Jon just took a bullet for me."

John Larimer and Julia Vojtsek
 Next was John Larimer. John was a 27 year old third petty officer in the Navy. When gunfire erupted he immediately jumped over his seat and put his body between the gunman and his girlfriend, Julia Vojtsek. She said he "immediately and instinctively covered me and brought me to the ground in order to protect me from any danger." John, the youngest of five children, had told his brother, Noel, that that would be the best way to die, saving someone's life. Little did he know that it would happen in a movie theater.

Matt McQuinn and Samantha Fowler
Finally we hear of Matt McQuinn, 27. Matt dove in front of his girlfriend, Samantha Yowler. The couple had met at a Target store in Springfield, Ohio, where they both worked. Samantha was injured during the attack, suffering a gunshot wound in the knee. His stepfather, when asked what he thought of Matt's actions replied, "I'm not surprised. That's what a man does." 

As I've been reading stories about these men, and watching news stories, I couldn't help but think about the whole question of what makes a man a man. What immediately sprang to my mind was Ephesians 5:25 - "Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her."

As a pastor, I do a lot of premarital counseling. I always include this verse when I talk to the potential grooms. This was the way that God intended men to love their wives; with a sacrificial love, a love that is willing to do whatever it takes, including the ultimate sacrifice, to protect his family. 

It's a picture of the love that Jesus Christ had for His church. He willingly went to the cross, the most horrible death that evil men of the time had imagined. It wasn't for any crime that He had committed that He died; He was a willing sacrifice in our place. He said, in Mark 10:45 that He came "to give his life as a ransom for many." In Ephesians, Paul holds this model up as the standard for all men in their relationships with their wives.  

It's appropriate to honor these men, who put their lives on the line when the bullets started flying. As J.R.R. Tolkien wrote, “Courage is found in unlikely places.” It's even found in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado.

We have lost a lot in this tragedy, as 12 people lost their lives and scores of others were injured. But we've also gained something by the example of these brave young men. While one man stood, with protective gear and an arsenal of weapons, to rain destruction on innocent people, 4 young men demonstrated what real love looks like. "Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends." (John 15:13) I've included a video with interviews of the young women whose lives were saved. One question for you: what would you have done?

Beautiful Sacrifice - 4 Boyfriends Lay Down Their Lives For Their Girlfriends in the Movie Shooting from sharethemessage on GodTube.

Related  Articles:
Just Do The Right Thing!
Taking A Stand
Why I Still Believe in Marriage
Hope Amid Despair
Men Without Chests

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