News story…it’s getting deeper.
I can’t put into words how saddened I am by the mutual hatred on all sides of the Israel/Hamas conflict, the Israel/Hezbollah conflict, and the U.S./al-Qaeda network (and whoever can be “linked” to it) in which innocent civilians are paying the price for terrorist organizations and governmental elite to play their wargames and inflame the masses…I have friends who have lived with Palestinians and Jews, working alongside them, hearing their stories. And I can say this, 98% of those populating Palestine, Israel, and Lebanon are just trying to make it through the day, raise and provide for their families, and live a semi-decent life. I also know another thing; the violence that hangs over their heads and kills their family members takes those people just trying to make a living and inflames them to carry out vengeance on those who have taken away their wives, husbands, and children. I already know a couple near me here in the Shenandoah Valley who lost their nephew, and his younger brother, a teenager, hates Iraqis, and is joining up when he turns 18 to carry out “justice” for his brother’s death. Anyone with any real concept of who pays the price in modern warfare should immediately take a step back from considering rushing into a war. And I’m not talking about Christians. Any Christian willing to be self-critical should hold themselves to a higher standard and ask some hard questions, both to governments of the world and to themselves…
Who’s going to pay the bulk of the price for this military incursion? (civilians bear the brunt both in sanctions and in warfare, the lower socioeconomic classes populate the standing armies)
How does my complicity or lack thereof in this instance reflect my commitment to Christ? (Both military personnel and civilians). Newsflash: Christianity’s not a hat you put on on Sundays and take off when you drop a bomb on a bridge covered with civilian automobiles.
Is my belief system simply that…a belief system? Or am I willing to take the hard steps to consistently show with my actions what I claim I believe?
When I talk about love and justice, whose definition am I working with? A secular one? Or am I letting Jesus define both the means AND the end to love and justice? If Jesus is not: I’m committing idolatry, the most heinous sin in the Old Testament.
Here’s a call to consistency and courage of Christians around the globe: If we believe God is sovereign, that our earthly lives are but a vapor, that this world is a testing ground, and that Jesus showed us what love for our neighbors really means, we should stop sliding down the slippery slope of relativism (or climb back up where we should be, if we’re already at the bottom), and show the world that following Christ means they can expect the same behavior from Christians whether they’re under fire or living in comfort.
What do we want? Involving ourselves in the machinations of this fallen world to the point where we’re clearly rationalizing and justifiying our unfaithfulness, or do we want to be conformed to the image of Christ? Which will impact the world deeper over the long haul? Do we trust God (the definition of faith), or are we engaging in another variant of functional atheism…thinking we’ve gotta make justice happen since God seems to be incapable of doing so Himself?
Important questions. We’ve got to deal with them. The status of the world hinges on whether you and I will live like we’re part of a new community of boundless love, of self-sacrifice, of radical forgiveness, and the pursuit of righteousness. God won’t force this on us, but he will judge us for our unfaithfulness should we blow this responsibility off.