The "Privilege" of Being One of the Elect
The movie We Were Soldiers is a true story based on the life of Lt. Col. Hal Moore. It’s about the first major battle for the Americans in Vietnam (1965). The battle in the La Drang Valley (affectionately referred to as the Valley of Death) was brutal and fierce, often involving hand to hand combat. About 400 American soldiers were trapped in the valley and had to fight night and day to stay alive. After three days of fighting, the Americans were able to overpower the Vietcong. When it was all said and done, 80 Americans and over 1,800 Vietcong had been killed.
After the battle was over, Lt. Col. Moore said, "I’ll never forgive myself." Surprised, a person nearby asked him why. Struggling to maintain his composure, he said, "That my men [pause] that my men died and I didn’t."
Lt. Col. Moore’s survival was a bittersweet victory. Yes, he was grateful he survived and was able to return to his family. Yet, he was haunted by the fact many of those around him did not share the same fate. It broke his heart many of his men were not as fortunate as he was. He realized his survival and their demise was only an issue of chance.
Lt. Col. Moore’s response is similar to the response of survivors of other great tragedies. For example, many firefighters who survived the World Trades Center attack feel guilty they survived while many of their brothers didn’t. It bothers them that "chance" favored them and not the others.
One of the things that surprised me in my study of selective salvation was the comments made by Selective Salvationists. A common theme I heard was "I feel privileged and honored to be one of the elect." They say the reason they witness is because of the "privilege of finding the other elect and telling them the good news." They look forward to telling the other elect of their "good fortune."
To be honest, I am troubled by these comments. Let’s say, for the sake of argument, selective salvation is true. I would, of course, be very grateful to have been chosen to go to Heaven. I would want no other destiny. Yet, it would be a very bittersweet situation. I would have tremendous sorrow for those selected to go to Hell. It would break my heart to know some will not make it to Heaven. I would not feel "privileged" to be one of the elect.
I’m not trying to be disrespectful or unappreciative. I would genuinely appreciate going to Heaven. Yet, I would have great difficulty rejoicing in my good fortune. My selection would be bittersweet.
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