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To Not Compromise Our Authentic Self

Posted Nov 29 2010 12:00am

Jew, Christian, Hindu, Moslem, Buddhist, Atheist, Agnostic, whatever one’s belief system is I believe that most would agree that the last six of the Ten Commandments of Mosses fame are practical rules to live by that will help to maintain harmony during our earthly journey.

  • Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
  • You shall not murder.
  • You shall not commit adultery.
  • You shall not steal.
  • You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
  • You shall not covet your neighbor’s house; you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor’s.”

Upon reviewing these commandments I have to say that in my life I have broken all of them with the exception of “You shall not murder”. I have not murdered anyone, however I have placed myself in situations where I could have taken the life of another and although I have never physically murdered anyone I cannot say that I have not murdered the spirit of another.

I would think that most people could say they never murdered anyone, however how many of us could commit to NEVER murdering anyone no matter what the circumstances? What if you were at war would you kill the enemy in the name of your country or self defense? If someone threatened your life or the life of your family and it was kill or be killed would you take the life of another to spare your own life or the life of a loved one? For many the answer is simple, if it comes down to defending your life or the life of a loved one, then they would kill the other person.

Now one might argue semantics and say that not all killing is murder, that self defense is not murder, that state sponsored execution is not murder that killing the enemy in a time of war is not murder and so on. The purpose of this writing is not to argue semantics rather it is to illustrate how a person can commit to a belief and not compromise their belief.

Over the weekend I learned about a remarkable man named Desmond Doss. Desmond Doss was awarded the highest military honor that can be bestowed upon an American military person, the Medal of Honor. The Medal of Honor is bestowed upon an American military person for acts of extreme bravery and sacrifice. The majority of people who have been awarded this highest of medals are awarded it posthumously meaning that they died during their act of bravery and self sacrifice. People who receive the Medal of Honor are said to be heroes and Desmond Doss was indeed a hero. What makes Desmond’s story so interesting to me is that he received the highest military honor and at the same time refused to handle a gun much less kill anyone. Desmond refused to handle a weapon and refused to kill anyone because he was committed to living by the Ten Commandments particularly the one that said “you shall not murder”. Desmond did not believe war was any reason for him to break this commandment.

When War World II broke out, Desmond did what many men did during that time he enlisted in the Army to serve his country and he did so with the commitment to abide by the Ten Commandments. He was honest with the Army and said he wanted to serve his country yet he could not and would not touch a gun nor kill another human being.  As you can imagine this did not fit the needs of the Army and they tried to label Desmond a conscientious objector and bar him from serving in the Army. Long story short Desmond did get into the Army and he requested to be an Army medic so that he could help his fellow soldiers on the field of battle. The Army was convinced they could break Desmond’s will and make him want to be a fighting solider and they assigned him to a rifle company.

You can only imagine how the other soldiers treated Desmond when they found out he refused to handle a weapon or to fight and kill the enemy.  Desmond was the target of harsh ridicule and abuse by his fellow soldiers.  Although he stood alone under the onslaught of abuse he did not waiver in his commitment to not murder another nor even handle or fire a gun. Over time, Desmond was granted his desire and was made an army medic.

As a medic on the field of battle, Desmond treated the wounded in situations where he placed himself at great personal risk over and over again. Desmond repeatedly was able to side step enemy fire and treat and drag wounded soldiers back to safe areas. Even when Desmond was himself wounded he still cared for others whose wounds were greater than his. In the end Desmond saved many lives and did so without ever picking up a weapon or causing harm to another human life.  You can read his citation here.

Desmond lived his belief’s, he did not look to find loopholes that would allow him to violate his beliefs nor did he succumb to the pressure of his peers and his leadership. Desmond lived his purpose; he lived his beliefs and became a war hero without ever touching a weapon or inflicting harm on another. The same men who ridiculed him later were the same men who praised and honored him for being true to himself.

In the end, there was no compromise made by Desmond in regards to who he was. Desmond provides a great example of how one can be true to their inner self, true to their spirit and truly live their purpose which is to love.

In life we have many opportunities to compromise who we are and we find that after enough compromises we become lost souls, not sure who we are anymore. We also have the opportunity to encourage others to compromise who they are and we often succeed in the name of success, pride, power, etc.

Today, forgive yourself for the compromises you have made that caused you to feel lost. Find your way home, remember your true path. Forgive yourself today for the compromises that you encouraged in others and send them blessings that they may find their way home. Know that you are still here, your authentic self is still living and loving and it is within you to find your way home.  Turn within and trust your true self and you will remember your path.

“On my way home I have often come to a cross roads in life and chosen the road called “Compromise” because it seemed like the easier path to travel only to learn later that the road called “Compromise” always took me further from home and took me to intersections where eventually all roads were labeled compromise and I forever felt lost”

- Mark BrownAuthor of the Naked Soul

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