I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER.
You can’t write just one article about what Christians should do with evil in the world. No matter what you say, you are going to get follow-up questions.
Here’s the follow-up question to Wednesday’s article, Burned alive: What to do about evil?
It comes from a friend of mine, Joe Kumor.
I have struggled with the “Christianity vs Pacifism” issue for a while as a former Army infantryman in Iraq, a policeman here in the States, and a seminary graduate.
There are many scenarios that would normally invoke violence, especially in protecting people, that some educated Christian leaders tell me a Christian should not participate in. I think that if a father is morally right in protecting his family in his house, a Christian can be a policeman and then a soldier. Is that “Christian” thinking? I have heard it both ways and would like your opinion.
I really like your “sheepdogs follow the Shepherd” line [in a comment box to another reader] and think it is helpful in this discussion. I am thinking each person has to be able to live with himself, but where is God in this? Basically, is God ok with some violence?
As the apostle Paul might say, I am not necessarily getting that answer from God himself. On Mount Sinai, God spoke with a rumble – as it’s reported in the Bible. But in my experience, God speaks with a mumble. Not very loud, if at all. And usually not at all. If you don’t count the Holy Spirit. And you probably should. Still, sometimes it’s hard to tell the Holy Spirit from what Mom taught me in kindergarten.
I’m getting the “Heck no” from two instant sources – stuff I know right off the top of my head.
- I am not okay with violence. So I presume that the God who made me is not okay with violence. Any violence. I’m not okay with it. It makes me nervous. And sad. And angry.
- God is not okay with divorce. “‘I hate divorce!’ says the Lord” (Malachi 2:16). If God is not okay with breaking someone’s heart, I presume he is not okay with breaking someone’s nose. Ever. Especially in a rose garden.
I suspect the real question Joe wants answered is this, “Is God okay with using violence to stop violence?”
Here’s what I think. No one should care what I think. Think for yourself. God didn’t give me a brain to think for you. He gave me a brain to think for me. He gave you a brain to think for you.
Christian soldiers, cops, and people working in retail need to decide for themselves if and when the best course of action is to punch someone’s teeth into next Tuesday.
If you do that, God is not going to be okay with it. He is not going to like it at all. I’m pretty sure of that. But not entirely. I may have been sure before I had kids.
How about we take a lesson from the Roman Catholics. They have an insightful way of looking at abortion when the life of the child threatens the life of the mother. They teach that abortion in that case is good because it saves a life but it’s bad because it takes a life.
I wonder if that’s how God looks at us when we kill people to protect others.
Someone in the Middle East starts cutting off heads like they grow on trees.
So we stop them. Permanently.
We apparently don’t have the technology to stun them, arrest them, and teach them good manners. But we do have the technology to return them to the dust from which they came.
God is not okay with that, I can’t believe.
But given the type of creatures we are at the moment – selfish, intolerant, and fearful – perhaps he understands that sometimes the only choice we have left is whether to stand and fight or lay down and die.
If I saw my kids treating each other like that, I would want something better for them. And if I could I would send Someone to tell them so.
“Treat others just as you want to be treated” (Luke 6:31).
Random book winner this week
I give away one free book a week to a randomly selected subscriber to my free blog and quarterly newsletter.
Stephanie is random this week.