Wrestling with Violence

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?


About this entry