Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Lethal Pride

By David A. Sargent

    John Sedgwick (September 13, 1813 – May 9, 1864) was a teacher, a career military officer, and a Union Army general in the American Civil War.  In the Civil War, he advanced in rank from colonel to Major General as he led his troops in battle. Sedgwick was wounded many times in the course of his military career, but there is an unfortunate – yet tragic – incident surrounding his fatal wounding.
    It was the beginning of the Battle of Spotsylvania Court House, on May 9, 1864. His corps was probing skirmish lines ahead of the left flank of Confederate defenses and he was directing artillery placements. Confederate sharpshooters were about 1,000 yards away and their shots caused members of his staff and artillerymen to duck for cover. Sedgwick strode around in the open and, according to Civil War historian Shelby Foote, was quoted as saying, "What? Men dodging this way for single bullets? What will you do when they open fire along the whole line? I am ashamed of you. They couldn't hit an ELEPHANT at this distance!"
    Although ashamed, his men continued to flinch and he repeated, "I'm ashamed of you, dodging that way. They couldn't hit an ELEPHANT at this distance!"  Seconds later however, he was struck by a fatal bullet just below his left eye. He was the highest-ranking Union casualty (the most senior by date of rank of all major generals killed) of the Civil War. *
    General Sedgwick had made a FATAL mistake; he had underestimated his enemy!
    His demise reminds US of an important truth: “Pride goes before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall” (Proverbs 16:18).
    You and I may be tempted to think in regard to our sin, “Oh, it won’t affect ME; I’ll be all right.”  We think the enemy just isn’t that powerful.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Sin will KILL and DESTROY (Romans 6:23; James 1:13-14).  Nothing pleases our enemy (Satan) more than for us to think that it won’t.
    The Good News (the “Gospel”) is that Satan has been defeated and there is a Remedy for our sin.  God loved us so much that He sent His Son to pay the price for our sin by dying on the cross (Ephesians 1:7).  WHEN – we respond in trusting obedience to Jesus – believing in Him (Acts 16:30-31), turning from our sins in repentance (Acts 17:30-31), confessing Him before men (Romans 10:9-10), and being baptized (immersed) in His name, THEN – His blood serves as payment for our sin.  And, as long as we CONTINUE to follow Him faithfully, His blood will CONTINUE to cleanse us from sin (1 John 1:7).
    Whether we want to believe it or not, PRIDE goes before DESTRUCTION and sin WILL destroy.  We ignore the danger at our own peril....
    Don’t allow PRIDE and DISBELIEF to cause YOU to be another casualty in the battle over your soul.
    TRUST and OBEY Jesus that you may LIVE with Him forever in heaven!

David A. Sargent, minister for the Church of Christ at Creekwood in Mobile, Alabama, is also the editor of an electronic devotional entitled Living Water."  To learn more about this excellent resource contact David via their website:
* Information gleaned from: "John Sedgwick." Wikipedia. Wikipedia, 2007. 09 Feb. 2007.

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