Sacrifice, and self sacrifice

I guess we all have our own idea of what sacrifice is, what we’re prepared to sacrifice, and what we expect other to sacrifice for us, or those we love.

Definition of sacrifice in English:

  1. An act of slaughtering an animal or person or surrendering a possession as an offering to a deity:
    they offer sacrifices to the spirits.
  2. Christian Church: Christ’s offering of himself in the Crucifixion.
  3. An act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy:

We must all be prepared to make sacrifices.

When we look into the past, there is a plethora of anecdotes about the sacrifice of innocents. Sacrificing the life of a child to prove the depth of one’s faith and commitment was present in virtually all of the world’s religious and cultural traditions. The followers of all three Abrahamic faiths flirt with the tradition of child sacrifice in numerous ways, including the story of Christ, which celebrates a “father” who offers “his only begotten son” to be sacrificed on the cross.

Child sacrifice continues today. In a recent case in India, police in the central state of Chhattisgarh found the decomposed body of Lalita Tati. The A seven-year-old girl was sacrificed by two persons believing that the act would give a better harvest,” Narayan Das, the police chief, said.

I don’t know where this form of ritualistic sacrifice of the innocent stems from. Nor can I find any congruence between how the various deities are portrayed and the barbarism enacted in their name. There must be something wedged deep in the lizard part of our brain that allows such acts to be performed.

We are surrounded daily by less blatant and obvious sacrifice. Often this sacrifice come in the form of parents who live their lives either in ignorance of the detrimental effects their actions (or inactions) have upon their unfortunate offspring, or they just don’t give a shit. They put their own needs and wants first, unprepared to self-sacrifice, they offer up the well-being of their children to the gods of alcohol, drugs, sex, or lethargy.


Yesterdays post about Bai Fang Li was about self-sacrifice. About a man who sacrificed the final two decades of his life for other’s education and well-being. There are many great examples of self-sacrifice, from characters as diverse as Mother Teresa, and Captain Lawrence Oates. What Bai Fang Li, Oates, and Mother Teresa have in common, is that they gave up part, or all, of themselves for the well being of others.

sacrifice - Mother-Teresa sacrifice - lawrence oates

Such acts are neither uncommon, nor the domain of the well-known. They happen around us on an almost daily basis, but are often hidden beneath the mountain of sensationalist morbidity pumped out by the media. They are extraordinary acts by ordinary people such as you or I.



“We must be prepared to make the same heroic sacrifices for the cause of peace that we make ungrudgingly for the cause of war. There is no task that is more important, or closer to my heart.” – Albert Einstein

What is your favourite story of self-sacrifice? Where have you drawn the line?

Leave a comment below.

I’ll leave you today with ‘Sacrifice’ by Elton John.



Thanks for calling in. If you want to see what others are doing for ‘S is for -‘ today, check out some of the other great blogs on the A to Z Challenge

Join me again tomorrow for a look at ‘T’. Until then, happy reading.


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Author: A.J.

I have written as far back as I can recall. Until 2011, that writing was just for me, or as rambling letters to friends and travelogues to the family. I never thought about why, or if others did similarly, and the thought of publishing never entered my head. Since I left England in 1979, I have been collecting experiences, people, and places. From the blood-soaked streets of Kampala, the polluted dust bowls of the Sahara, or the pristine ice floes of the Antarctic, I have gathered and filed them away. Some have recently squeezed through the bars of insecurity and are now at large in the pages of my first three novels. Others await their future fates.

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