Last night many of us went to bed hearing the news that the United States has more formally entered the ongoing conflict in Syria by unleashing nearly 60 missiles onto a Syrian airbase.
While the use of chemical weapons against their own citizens was surely a crime against humanity that warrants action by all nations, as the people of Jesus we must resist the temptation to endorse, embrace, or celebrate the use of war and death in an attempt to address injustice.
Instead of thinking as the world thinks or doing what the world does, I pray that we will remember the following:
We are called to be peacemakers.
While politicians may beat their chest for war, the Jesus follower is dedicated to being a peacemaker– not a war-wager.
When the Bible talks about peace it’s not talking about the absence of conflict, but the presence of wholeness. Thus, when Jesus says, “Blessed are the peace makers” what he’s saying is that his followers are called to be people dedicated to making the world whole again– people who move the story in a direction of healing and restoration as we move the world, inch by inch, towards a day when all the wrongs will be made right.
Certainly, bombing countries do not make those countries, or the people within them, whole again. By definition bombs make things more broken, not less.
Thus, may we remember that those who will be called the “Children of God” are those who oppose war, and instead cultivate peace and restoration.
We must remind the world that violence only perpetuates an endless cycle of violence.
Jesus taught his disciples that using violence to address injustice simply feeds into an endless cycle. No matter how seemingly justified in our own minds, the only thing we can be absolutely sure that will be accomplished by violence is that it will feed a cycle that invites more of it.
An eye for an eye eventually becomes a bomb for bomb, each time prompting the other side to escalate in their response.
Instead, Jesus people are called to think more creatively– we are called to be people who are busy thinking and trying solutions to the world’s problems that don’t include the lazy thinking of an eye for an eye.
We must remember to not be silent.
Jesus taught that we are to be light in the darkness, and that the last possible thing we would want to do with our light is hide it.
Let’s be honest: we live in some dark times. There is more turmoil around the world than we even know what to do with, and what the world needs is more light.
We need more people with the courage to speak out against the horror of war. We need more people to speak out with creative solutions to global problems. We need more people to speak out in defense of the defenseless.
You have light inside of you– don’t hide it during these dark times.
The world around us is desperately broken. However, we must remember that solving problems using the world’s logic doesn’t really solve anything– we’ve been trying that since the dawn of time, and all it’s done is given birth to a world that’s almost always at the brink of war, or knee-deep in it.
Instead, may we as Jesus people remember to be light in these dark times.
May we remember our calling to be peacemakers.
May we teach and remind others that, as Jesus taught, violence only feeds an endless cycle of violence.
But most of all, may we have the courage to not hide our light so that we can blend into the darkness– because what the world needs most, is a little more light.
Dr. Benjamin L. Corey is a public theologian and cultural anthropologist who is a two-time graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary with graduate degrees in the fields of Theology and International Culture, and holds a doctorate in Intercultural Studies from Fuller Theological Seminary. He is also the author of the new book, Unafraid: Moving Beyond Fear-Based Faith, which is available wherever good books are sold. www.Unafraid-book.com.