Predator And Hellfire

Looking for someone to bomb….

Does it ever seem to you that there are some unknown group of folks in and around the US White House who are just looking for someone to bomb? It sure does to me. I have some ideas as to who those bomb-loving people are, but that’s not my focus today. But I’ve gotta ask a question, “Who would Jesus bomb?” No seriously. Don’t just write that off, think about it a bit. Was Jesus ever for violence?

There are a couple of pesky passages in the gospels that are hard for us peace-loving types to ignore. There’s the ole “I have not come to bring peace, but a sword.” Then there’s the “I will turn your relatives against you” passage. And the ever-annoying “Go out and buy a sword if you don’t have one” comment by Jesus.

He drove out animals and humans with a whip (although, I could argue that a more rational response would have been for Jesus to smite them – as in, dead. They were doing some bad stuff in the temple).

The book of Revelation has some pretty violent stuff in it (if you take it literally, at least). And of course the Old Testament makes our current rage of vampire and zombie shows look like Sesame Street.

So there’s no shortage of violence in the scriptures. The very death of Jesus was violent. The tearing of the temple curtain and the ensuing earthquake were violent manifestations of God’s power. Then there’s this one – I’ve long pondered this passage in Matthew 11:12 “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.”

So there’s surely some violence happening in and around us. Some even seems to be God-sanctioned.

Romans 13 seems to acknowledge that there’s always going to be some pretty bad people doing bad stuff, which is why governments “bear the sword.”

So here’s my answer. Wait, what was the question again? Oh yes, “Who would Jesus bomb?” Or to put that in a more Dallas Willardian phraseology, we might say “If Jesus had your life to live, who would he bomb?”

I think the answer is clearly….no one. Not for any reason. Ever.

Yes, the scriptures acknowledge evil in the world. And they acknowledge violence and the use of violence. But the clear teaching is for us to love our enemy. To do good to them. To not repay evil. To turn the other cheek. Again and again these are held up as the standard. Does the USA have the “right” to bomb Syria for that government’s horrible actions? Maybe. Will it be helpful? History would say – doubtful.

The problem when we fight back – is the other side fights back harder. It’s the spiritual law of Newtonian physics that says something like: “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” Also “Every object that starts in motion will continue in motion until something stops it.” (How do you like my version? I was a history major)! 🙂

I hit you. You hit me. I judge you. You judge me. I don’t forgive you. You don’t forgive me.

That’s why Jesus’ laws of relational physics are so profound. They say “Do not judge, or you will be judged.” “Forgive.” “Turn the other cheek.” “Love your enemy.”

You might respond, “Then who will stop the crazies of the world like Saddam, Bin Laden or Assad?” And I’d ask you a question back – “Who do you think should stop them?” And the Dr. Phil reply to your reply might be apt – “So how’s that working for you?”

What if God was the judge? What if he alone doles out judgement and causes nations to rise and fall? What if that’s not in our portfolio as humans?

Yeah but….but….what about______ (Fill in the blank with a bad guy).

Well, actually, God created that (fill in the blank) person. God knew him. God is his judge. YOU do not judge. What we do is forgive. Love. All which I’m pretty sure are more powerful forces than the largest bomb that can ever be dropped.

Yes, this way of Jesus is confusing. It’s upside down. Not for the faint of heart. It’s far easier to fire a missile from a warship 1000 miles off the coast of Syria at a target filled with stuff and people you’ll never see than it is to go and conquer them with the power of a loving embrace. Who has the courage to do that?

Comments

  1. mnichols says:

    What about the love for the victims? Does the love of Jesus compel us to defend the innocent? And what does “defend” mean in this context. I believe we can love our enemy by stopping them from doing something that would hurt both them (in the future judgment sense) and others (victims in the present). Stopping them doesn’t necessarily mean bombing them, but love has many different looks. I’m certainly not suggesting that the hawks in government have a motivation of love; I’m guessing it would be a foreign concept to them. Proverbs 3:27 says “do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in the power of your hand to do so.” I believe resisting evil on behalf of the innocent is an act of love.

    Do you have any suggestions for an act of love that would persuade Mr. Assad to not use chemical weapons or stop the fighting? Or, an act of love that would lead the resistance to lay down their arms? If you and I can do it, I’ll leave tomorrow with you on the next plane to Damascus. I am 100% serious and all in.

  2. mnichols says:

    And the answer to “who has the courage to extend the power of a loving embrace”, Doctors without Borders and other humanitarian groups on the ground in Syria now.

  3. Ryan Healy says:

    Yes, what about love for the victims? Will bombing Syria somehow bring justice for them? I sincerely doubt it. Bombing Syria will simply create more innocent victims.

    Not only that, Mr. Assad did not use chemical weapons. The evidence suggests the rebels did.

    Furthermore, American leaders orchestrated these events. They know that once they strike Syria, Iran will get involved. The U.S. has wanted to start a war with Iran for a long time now. This will give them “justification” for doing so.

    Everything you see or hear in the American news is largely propaganda. They said Saddam had weapons of mass destruction. He didn’t. The U.S. media say Iran is building nuclear weapons. They aren’t. The U.S. media say that the Syrian government is using chemical weapons. They aren’t.

    The U.S. gov’t has a long history of lying to the American public to build popular support for wars. The powers that be profit from America’s war machine. Greed drives American wars.

    Getting back to Carl’s question, “Who would Jesus bomb?” I agree with his conclusion: nobody.

    Right now there may not be anything we can personally do to stop the fighting. But don’t worry… God has a plan, and it’s a good one. Even what seems like evil today God will ultimately use for good.

  4. BrianNewman says:

    I appreciate your provocative thoughts. I had not considered who Jesus would bomb. I am not so certain that he would bomb nobody. That seems very predictable and as I look at Jesus and his life it was anything but predictable.
    I am left with a more global question: What does the international community do about genocide? Not only in Syria (although that is where it is right now), but in all places? I question if this is the “job” of the United States alone, in fact i am sure it is not.
    But does God call nations to stand up against evil perpetrated by leaders? I think so, in some way.
    Thank you for the thoughtful post. It has made me wrestle with this.

  5. Carl Medearis says:

    Ryan – love it. Always the conspiracy theorists…. 🙂

    Honestly, none of us know exactly what’s going on. I should know more than most – but I don’t. I have no idea. Good thing there is a God who knows and cares.

  6. mcepl says:

    Yes, it is lovely theoretical peaceloving post. Kind of similar to what Mr. Chamberlain was telling to all his voters. Why should we go to the war (notwithstanding the valid international agreements) “because of a quarrel in a far-away country between people of whom we know nothing”?

    Except, … I am a Czech living in the Czechia, so I think bombing of Mr. Hitler wasn’t that bad idea.

    It has no relation to the current civil war in Syria (I believe civil wars should be generally as a rule resolved by the citizens of the country among themselves), just saying that this as all very theoretical thoughts is very very dangerous thing.

  7. ACaldwell says:

    I think something like this- http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2013/08/30/a-place-of-peace-summer-camp-for-syrian-refugee-children/
    is a beautiful response to what is happening in Syria. Just thought I would pass this along. “These are the stories that we need to remember when we argue about Syria.”

  8. Todd G. says:

    I’ve been thinking about eschatology lately. I have been wondering… “Would Jesus Set-up a “No Fly Zone” Y’now just for the sake of protecting his loved ones from a Nut-Job that engages in collective punishment. I mean after all, he and his followers occupied the entire temple mount preventing anyone from making sacrifices. What’s the big deal Jesus? What is your sense of justice all about? You can set your followers up to prevent some sacrifices that you do not like for religious reasons on the temple mount? Its an occupy movement as far as I am concerned? But, honestly, Jesus, its some doves, and calves and goats and stuff, and you are all upset about that? Jesus; these are only religious sacrificial ceremonies and you care about that? Upset enough to occupy the entire temple-mount? You rode on the donkey for the obvious purpose of mocking Caesar and his supposed glory/power/might right? So, If you could occupy a temple mount, in defiance of the authorities for purely religious reasons?; why would you not occupy the skies to create a “no fly zone” for humanitarian reasons?

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