I am thankful that I live in Canada. However by taking a stance of non-violence, there are sometimes accusations of being ungrateful for all the material wealth, resources and luxury I possess, or I somehow shame the memories of fallen soldiers, or receive simply stony silence… sadly mostly from fellow believers on the Way.
Please understand… I simply thirst to be a peace maker, rather than a worldly definition of a peace keeper.
I must ask: how can we reach out the loving hand of Christ after we've bombed an entire people?
Why do we attach God to fighting for our ways of life? Why is OUR WAY of life the ONLY way of freedom and love and community?
It seems we're fighting for democracy and the free market economy and the right to resources, rather than freedom.
Biblically speaking, it does not matter the circumstances, we are thankful in ALL things. Why do we fight so violently for an earthly political regime, calling it the right thing? Why are not our allegiances set above this? Why… why… why…
I read about soldiers and law enforcement officials who battle this very issue daily. I feel their suffering. I pray for their own peace, with God and people.
What do I say to believers in developing countries who point at ME and say: "YOU PEOPLE are the last great demonic stronghold in the world, not us. We pray for YOU. We are supporting YOU!" They said the West is the Whore of Babylon, not the Middle East… not Africa… not the poor… not the other religions… and to live in such a place must be terrible. What do I say to that?
In countries where people are/have been taken in the night to be tortured, beaten and starved for their faith, why would they not want what we have here with all our abundance of freedom and prosperity? Instead, they spurn it and feel pity for us. In our arrogance, we feel we have all the spiritual resources, help, charity; and then, thinking we're holding all the cards, perhaps we greedily take the right of Global Spiritual Benefactor. While the West has done much good, we cannot deny we have done (and still do) much harm. Is it really so far-fetched to envision a leper in Calcutta having greater insight and wisdom than a doctor of theology in Canada?
Christianity was birthed with the peace and joy of the Resurrection. It was made legal by bloodshed.
The old standby question is: "Well what about Hitler? Appeasement made things much worse!"
I'm not talking about appeasement, about rolling over and giving the enemy an inch. But when you think of WWII (please understand that I too have a grandfather who was a decorated war hero), who do you think of first who truly stood against the evil behind Hitler's machinations? Corrie ten Boom… Deitrich Bonhoeffer… people who did what was right in the eyes of Christ and loved, and not by pointing a gun.
Shane Claiborne speaks of his trip to the Iraqi war zone. There he met peaceful Muslims who treated him with the honour and respect Christ would have His children show all people. He also compares our terms of 'Muslim extremists' with their terms of 'Christian extremists'. They see the West as acting in the extreme, not the other way around. While my heart breaks for soldiers who have lost their lives during tours of duty, how can my heart not break for the incredible loss of families, children, schools, life after life in these war-torn countries? And then we expect to waltz in there and say: "Jesus loves you"?
The pride of it all makes me cringe.
Unless we pursue the Prince of Peace and trust that He WILL protect and resolve and convict and draw all people to Himself, there will be no peace. Only war. Only guns. Only death. Peace is an active state of living, not a passive desire. It must be pursued with love.
What are we really fighting for?