Vengeance… how can something that feels so good be so wrong?
Recently I have been debating with many well-meaning Christians on the whole just-war concept… they usually speak as if this were a biblical term. I am struggling with war as a solution for many reasons:
1. I do not find war to be a biblical solution. Now I can just hear you saying, “Is he crazy? What about the Old Testament?” And that would be a great argument if you also continue to practice stoning your children when they are disrespectful… you have to be consistent.
Grace changes everything. You will be hard-pressed to find a New Testament example of war being seen as favorable (let alone commanded by God… as the OT argument usually goes).
2. I do not find war to be a theological solution. I find human vengeance an ultimate expression of a failure to trust God. So even in the Old Testament cases, I do not believe that God was condoning war as much as He was allowing it… in similar fashion as He allows divorce. It is not His desire. Nor does it suit His character. Instead it can be understood as the boundary response given to sinful man. If He says “vengeance is mine – I will repay”, then my taking vengeance is nothing less than an assertion of my belief that He will not adequately take care of it.
3. I do not find war to be a practical solution. Let’s just deal simply with this war that is before us. A TIME magazine article dated September 3, 2006 reports that we have now lost more United States citizens in Iraq then in the 9/11 tragedy. And this staggering testimony only counts those of our own country… not the foreign innocents stricken in the name of “fighting terror”… anyone else seeing the irony of that phrase?
One thought on “Wrestling with Violence”
The New Testament doesn’t have much to say about war. It does, however, address the respect that is needed for authority. Though we do not stone our children and grace is to be shown, it does not mean that sin should only be punished by God. God set up authority structures to govern us.
Yes, the ideal government is a theocracy, but God gave into man’s desire for human leadership. But even under the theocratic leadership God used man to carry out justice.
Would you go so far as to say that the United States should not have entered World War II? The casualties of that war outnumbered those Hitler decided to exterminate.
Do you not believe that a murderer should be sentenced to death? Do you not believe that a rapist should be punished?
Would your opinion change if it were your family members and loved ones who were being treated like those who suffered under Saddam Hussein? I think you would be crying out to God for help AND you would expect justice from some governmental authority.
When it’s another country, it is easy to only look at it from one side. I remember the fear I had for some of my Kuwaiti girlfriends when Saddam invaded Kuwait. I don’t know if they were subject to the abuse Saddam was known for or not.
Read the information on this site http://www.c-span.org/resources/pdf/hrdossier.pdf and think about what you would do if a man of such reputation was your next door neighbor. What should be done? Saddam was ignored for too long. Hitler was ignored for too long. Look at the consequences/lives lost because of other countries ignoring what Hitler was doing.
The difficulty our country is facing is how to be gracious in the take over of their country. How to take it over, yet give it over at the same time without stooping to their murderous ways.