“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25).
The New York Times broke the story about Harvey Weinstein’s vile pattern of sexual abuse just after the Vegas shooting. In the days following the nightmare in Vegas, stories were beginning to emerge about the heroes in the midst of that horror, but thanks to the Weinstein bombshell, those stories were quickly lost in the shuffle. This only adds to the tragedy of the events in Vegas. So in this post, I want to draw attention to two heroes.
Both men were at the concert in Vegas that fateful night along with their wives. Jack Beaton was a 54-year old roofer, in Vegas with his wife to celebrate their 23rd wedding anniversary. Sonny Melton was a 29-year old nurse, in Vegas with his wife to enjoy the music festival that weekend.
When the shooting began, both men immediately sought to shield their wives from harm. Here’s how Beaton’s wife described what happened that night-
“He told me, ‘Get down, get down, get down!’” Laurie Beaton told The Associated Press ahead of the memorial service.
He put his body on top of hers for protection, she said.
“He told me, ‘I love you, Laurie,’ and his arms were around me and his body just went heavy on me,” she said.
Melton’s story is similar-
“He saved my life,” Heather Gulish Melton told USA Today. “He grabbed me from behind and started running when I felt him get shot in the back.”
Both husbands died protecting their wives.
The contrast between Jack Beaton & Sonny Melton and Harvey Weinstein could not be sharper. Weinstein preyed on women, viewing them as objects to serve his perverted fantasies, exploiting his power and status for selfish gratification. Weinstein expected women to give themselves to him. Beaton and Melton gave themselves for their wives.
When the apostle Paul described the sort of love husbands should have for their wives, he set the highest possible standard – the love of Christ for his people.
Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. (Ephesians 5:25-27)
The love of Christ is selfless. It gives, and gives deeply, all for the welfare of the “bride,” the church. Husbands are to follow this example, to give deeply for the wellbeing of their wives.
Many men today utter fail in the moment of testing. Some abandon their wives altogether, betraying the vows of marriage for the cheap thrill of sexual gratification with someone else. Others demean and degrade their wives rather than seeking their spiritual beauty. And others are simply oblivious to the needs of their wives, and do nothing to actively love, serve, and give to meet those needs.
I don’t know anything about the religious beliefs of Jack Beaton and Sonny Melton, but I do know this – when the shooting started, when it would have been easy to abandon their wives and save themselves, they instead wrapped themselves around their wives and died to save them. If their wedding vows were traditional, at some point those men pledged “to have and to hold…til death do we part.” They gave everything to keep that promise.
That is Christ-like love.