Wednesday, September 9, 2009

There Must be a Better Way

A short word before this next article:
I first wrote this just before US forces moved into Iraq in 2003; however, I find it addresses a perspective still out there in the contemporary 'Christian mindset' that needs to be challenged.
What are your thoughts?

Preparations for war have filled our minds and newscasts.
Soldiers pack up their gear, embrace their children, kiss their wives. “We just want to get the job done, get it over with and get back home!”
Thousands fill the streets of New York, London, Rome, Istanbul; 35,000 protest in Vancouver and even Abbotsford hears the cries, “No blood for oil!” The images contrast as sharply as the opposing battle lines in the desert.
Days and nights of constant bombardment have now left much of Baghdad in ruins.
Our TV screens explode with “Shock and Awe!”
but do we realize men, women and children are dying while we watch the fireworks?
Then the next photos: close-ups of the injured and maimed lying in blood-soaked bandages in ill-equipped hospitals; or even worse, the dead lying in the streets after the battles.
Even closer to home, a Maryland father thrusts his slain son's picture into the camera's eye. “Take a look, George Bush. This is my son, my only son, and you killed him!”
Sons, fathers, soldiers, civilians...all casualties of a world that has definitely lost its way...again.
Survivor Baghdad has become the ultimate Reality TV show.
A chorus of hearts cries out: “There must be a better way!”

The debate intensifies:
“Saddam's a monster, a foul dictator, a virtual anti-Christ. He slaughters his own people. Replace him and we'll make the world a safer place!”

“Bush is no better. Who does he think he is: the world's policeman? imposing his brand of 'Christian' democracy, bullying Moslems and the entire Arab world?”

“Terrorism, biological and chemical weapons must be countered with ten times more force. These are threats to world security and must be preemptively neutralized.”

“But by reacting this way, haven't we become what we say we oppose?”

Over 3000 died in the World Trade Center disaster.
How many will have to die in the retaliation?
United Nations diplomacy proved ineffective.
Canada teeters somewhat smugly on the fence, officially uninvolved, but cautiously cheering on the Americans, anxiously concerned about effects on our economy and comfortable way of life.
There must be a better way.
It's amazing how we can piously mouth Jesus' teachings, “Turn the other cheek, Walk the second mile, etc.” on a personal, individual and family level, but fail to relate them on the wider community, national and international stages. The words sound good on an ethereal, spiritual plane, but they don't really apply to the 'real world'.
How easily we sentimentalize 'Blessed are the peacemakers', but resort to waging war when our 'real' interests are threatened.
Indeed, a 'Christian brother' once tried to enlighten me by proving that The Beatitudes and Sermon on the Mount will only come into effect in some future Millenium!
What happened to The Cross?
Shows you how strongly your end-time beliefs can determine your present-day attitudes and actions.
The problem with Christ and His teaching is not that they have been tried and found wanting; it's that they have not been really tried!

We so-called 'Christian' nations have not truly sought to put them into practice when it comes to resolving problems.
“Be realistic,” some counter.
Jesus was and is.
He understood that what we sow we ultimately reap:
sow violence, reap violence;
sow love, reap love;
live by the sword, die by the sword.
Don't be overcome by evil (the forces of this world that are bent on destruction),
but overcome evil with good.
Gandhi was not a Christian, but he sought to follow Christ's non-violent approach, and he ultimately led India to independence.
Martin Luther King dreamed of his people's freedom from racism and inspired them by Jesus' faith.
South Africa has been spared a bloodbath because they chose to forgive past inhumanities by both whites and blacks rather than resort to vengeance.
The Berlin Wall did not fall to tanks and missiles, but to the prayers of believers who not only filled a Dresden church night after night, but then let their light shine in the streets until the communist darkness could stand no longer.

Jesus said, “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink, and by so doing, you will heap coals of fire on his head.” (Romans 12:20)
I always interpreted this to mean that God would ultimately execute fiery retribution on my enemies. But my heart motive was all wrong. Rather than calling down judgment on your opposition, this verse alludes to the nomadic custom of transporting fire coals from camp to camp in baskets on their heads. If someone's fire went out between camps, others were to give them some of their own.
Rather than retaliate, rekindle.
Jesus tells us to bless and not curse; heal rather than wound; help, not destroy ...and not just when it's personally convenient. Thousands of Iraqi children have died over the last 10 years' embargo on goods, including proper medical and food supplies.

What if: rather than pound them with missiles, we bombarded them with mercy and the skies rained down relief packages rather than death?

“Traitor! Naive! Impractical?"
But the real gospel in action has worked miracles and fostered much more goodwill than self-centred evil. We really do have so much here in the West. God has blessed us with such abundance. Rather that retaliation, why not break the cycle of violence by faithfully following the One whose Death and Resurrection forever broke the power of sin and death … hatred and war?
I am convinced: The Gospel of Jesus Christ is A Better Way!

1 comment:

  1. Man that's some real truth. I think this teaching should be in every bible school. I've always thought the same thing.Why don't we just believe the bible, and love those who hate use, bless those who persecute use. Jesus never said kill all the people that hate you. The bible speaks very directly about this kind of stuff. We do not fight against flesh and blood but against spirits and princepaletis. love your enemy's it's point blank. That's why the word of God is like a sword it cuts throught flesh and spirit. It'a all or nothing.

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