Meditation: God's Just Love Theory
There is a way which seemeth right unto a man but, the end thereof are the ways of death . Proverbs 14:12
If a criminal broke into your home and was threatening your children don’t you think God would want you to protect them and shoot the intruder? This scenario is a “way which seemeth right unto a man.” It is the kind of thinking that is expanded to our communities and to our nation. It was the way which seemed right to St. Augustine when he created the widely accepted “Just war theory. “ The truth of the gospel reveals that “Just war theory” is - just a war theory.
Many decide life and death issues by applying the human nature argument. They reason “after all it’s just human nature…it’s just common sense.“ We are counseled however that this way (which seems right) leads to death. When we seek peace and pursue it, the end is life. So how do we respond to militant Christians who are driving our national and foreign policies? How do we speak to the fears they reveal in their philosophies and theologies? And most importantly, how do we clearly and unmistakably show the way which leads to life?
The unwise have accepted the false premise that there are only two possible ways of responding to violence. Some are quick in turning to the way which seems right to man. When faced with either becoming a victim or a perpetrator they choose to become the perpetrator. Jesus provides a better way, a creative way, a way which looks at the underlying cause of sin. Jesus responds to fear with love and teaches us to do the same.
Responding to violence with more violence multiplies the enemies. When an Iraqi is killed often several of their family members and friends strengthen their resolve to avenge the death. It is the same for each US soldier who is killed. The friends, family and countryman are embolden and can more easily justify the violence even to the point of nuclear war. In the end “enemies” on both sides are created faster than they can be destroyed. There is no end only cycles of increased and decreased violence. War is a way which seemeth right unto men but the ways thereof lead to death.
Even in individual instances of violence such as a home intruder or violence in our communities there is always a better way than meeting that violence with more violence. The human way is to label people as evil to justify violence against them. This was the emotion George Bush was trying to elicit in the public when he spoke of the “axis of evil.” When a nation or a people can be depicted as unusually “evil“, “good” people can be manipulated to violence against them. The “good” people triumphing over the “bad” people is a way which “seems right to a man but the end thereof leads to death.”
We can not offer a theory of just violence to neatly apply to dangerous situations. Instead we rely on the love of Christ and his love of the human family through us to respond to physical threats. In the end we know that this love we contain is a treasure stored in fragile earthen vessels and may one day be spilled out. There have been many more casualties of war then there have been casualties of peace.
Prayer: Lord of life and love we constantly recommit our lives to your ways. Let us not rely on the way which seemeth right in our own minds but to seek peace and purse it in all situations.
Action: Make your plans to join us on march 16th at the National Cathedral to witness for peace and walk to the White House. Many communities have arranged for busses to make travel easier. Car pool with others as we come together. We are the Christian Peace Witness for Iraq. If we remain silent and invisible who will show the face of Christ to our world?