What God would "visit the iniquity of the fathers on the children"?I had a conversation with a group of men a few years ago, and one man who had beena failure all his life at nearly everything he tried, said with an air ofresignation that he had "sacrificed his whole life."At that moment it was not clear just what he meant. Someone who knew him muchbetter than I challenged him."You have not!" said the man. "You don't know what it means to sacrifice, or youwould have been successful by now."The first man replied, "You are wrong. It is because I sacrificed that I failed. Isacrificed a good job with a good employer for the whim of starting up my ownbusiness when I had no aptitude for business. I sacrificed my marriage for a one-night stand. I sacrificed my health by getting drunk every night before goinghome, and it put me in the hospital with cirrhosis of the liver. I sacrificed mycollege education when I quit because the leftist teaching of the universitypissed me off. One liberal philosophy teacher actually said I would grow out ofthe beliefs I had at the time. The problem is, I never outgrew those beliefs. Ibelieve in them more strongly than I did then. But I sacrificed them, too, by notliving up to them.""Well," said the second man, "that isn't what I meant by 'sacrifice.' I mean youdidn't try hard enough by giving up the things that would have made you asuccess.""And I still say you're wrong," said the first man. "If I had given up what wasnecessary to be successful, that wouldn't have been sacrificing anything, it wouldonly have been paying the proper price for the things I valued. Instead, I paidtoo little, and the sacrifice was getting nothing at all in return for what I didpay."The ultimate payment is my failure. All those years that I had a good job, allthose years that I had wonderful wife are water under the bridge. I didn't doanything to put them in the bank. I robbed the bank. And now here I sit withoutany retirement, living from food stamps, taking temporary jobs because with mywork history I can't get anything else considering the hard economic times we'rein."Do you see what I'm saying?" he asked. We could all hear the regret in his voice,the self-judgment, and the recognition that he had finally learned the meaning ofthe word "sacrifice.""If I had not done the wrong things, if I had not fallen short of doing whatneeded to be done at all the important moments in my life, I wouldn't feel as if Ijust want to cry over spilt milk right now. There wouldn't be any spilt milk. I'dhave a refrigerator full of it, instead of a pocket full of food stamps."Do you understand me now? I didn't pay enough for the things I wanted. That wasthe sacrifice--losing the things I had because I didn't want to pay the piper whathe was worth. The things I wanted were worth more than I was willing to pay. Thatis sacrificial. I sacrificed myself by being cheap."div align="justify">If thelife you want is more important than love, it's no sacrifice. If living anywherewith the one you love is more important, THAT is no sacrifice.Sacrifice means to give up what is more valuable for what is less; otherwise theword has no moral meaning.