My question to us, myself included, is why do we have to resort to war? Why is that even on the table? As followers of a crucified God why are we contemplating violence against our enemies? As one person put it, it’s really hard to love your enemies when you’re sticking a sword in them! Jesus not only calls us to follow him in this life of taking up our Cross, but, the NT tells us, he has given us an example:
For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed.
1 Peter 2:21-24
To follow Jesus means to suffer. That’s the bottom line. The verse above says that we are to follow in his footsteps. It’s not easy to be a Christian. It is hard, but it is FULL of JOY! This is because we are in close relationship with the one who made us, we are living as we should, and in the community of faith life makes sense.
Let’s consider, for a second, the cross itself. This is the ultimate act of submission to violence, it is in fact God’s victory for us over the forces of violence that would do away with us.
Christians often tend to focus on being united with Christ in his resurrection, forgetting that we are also united with him in his death. What could that mean if it does not mean that Christians must be ready to die, indeed have their children die, rather than betray the Gospel? Any love not transformed by the love of God cannot help but be the source of the violence we perpetrate on one another in the name of justice. Such a love may appear harsh and dreadful from the perspective of the world, but Christians believe such a love is life-giving not life-denying.
It is this that we live out of, Christ has won for us, and so why do we need to use violence and warfare to continue to usher in the kingdom?
I am convinced that the call of Christ is a call to peace and to peaceMAKING, but not through violent means, at all.Violence as a way to peace NEVER works. The witness of the first believers shows us this, there is no violence that, for us is ever excusable. I suppose that my final question here is why does it have to be violence? Why are we not smart enough, creative enough, to come up with something other than attack as the best form of defence? We are in-dwelt by the Creator of the universe, surely we must be able to come up with another way? Why is our safety in the pile of weapons we have created instead of the One who created us and rules over the entire universe, the ALL POWERFUL one.
Do we really believe what we say about him?