What does it mean to be innocent? Very often we take it to mean basically ignorant. Ignorant of war, violence, wrong… Babies are innocent because they don’t know that it’s wrong to slap. Children are innocent because they don’t have the ability to defend themselves. Civilians are innocent because they aren’t a part of the fight. But what does innocent really mean? A synonym often used is faultless. While many we refer to are indeed faultless in respect to the context we choose to describe them, in reality, no one is purely innocent.
When it comes to war, everyone is innocent… Except the soldier. Everyone is guiltless… Except the ones who have to fight. Is that fair? I’m uncomfortable saying so many honorable young men and women lose their innocence when they swear to give their lives to protect others. It seems to me, some of the most innocent are found on the battlefield, (on either side.) Because it’s just as possible to remain guiltless fighting a battle as it is to send someone to fight for you. I’m afraid we often confuse innocence with a target. In war the innocents are the ones that can’t be targeted. Those fighting are left to lose their innocence simply by becoming a legal target.
Let’s never forget the value of life. No matter who’s life it is. In war, the people at home, the children in their beds, the mothers are indeed innocent. But the boys and girls, the men and women, the mothers and fathers on the battlefield are not somehow less innocent because of the oath they took. They willingly and knowingly took upon themselves a target for all of us at home. They too can be as innocent as anybody. Even with a weapon in their grasp.
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, than someone lay down his life for his friends. – Jesus – John 15:12-13