One of the things I enjoy about blogging are the discussions that emerge from seemingly simple posts. A case in point is the discussion Derek and David have been having about peace and war and violence—all from a 6-word post. There words, though not lacking spirit or passion, have gone miles beyond simple cookie-cutter Sunday School answers and wrestle with the complex issues that come when trying to apply Jesus’ heart for peace to the realities of the world. Their comment trail can be found here, about 1/2 way down.
As they finished up their dialogue, I drafted my thoughts about what I had been reading. I was going to post them as a comment, but opted instead to drop it into a post. Here are my thoughts:
Derek and David, I’ve really been enjoying your spirited discussion, as have others. As I read, one of the things that kept showing up for me was this. I am not sure how to handle nations fighting nations or what the way-of-Jesus looks like in that bigger spectrum, but this I do know: When Jesus disarmed Peter his disarmed all his disciples and then went on to die for all. I am convinced that as followers of Jesus we can give our life for peace must never take a life for peace. To do so goes against all that Jesus stood/stands for. I really believe that a follower of Jesus should never take up arms to kill. So for me, it comes back around to what I can/should do and not so much what a nation should do. Should I use violence to try to end violence? No. Jesus chose and taught a third way and said His kingdom was not like the world. I think this is what the examples of Jesus, Martin Luther King Jr., Gandhi, and others speak to…willing to die for peace and justice, but never willing to kill for it.
There was an interesting article written by Diana Butler Bass shorty after the Amish school shooting back in 2006. It is called, What if the Amish were in charge of homeland security? She begins:
Their practice of forgiveness unfolded in four public acts over the course of a week. First, some elders visited Marie Roberts, the wife of the murderer, to offer forgiveness. Then, the families of the slain girls invited the widow to their own children’s funerals. Next, they requested that all relief monies intended for Amish families be shared with Roberts and her children. And, finally, in an astonishing act of reconciliation, more than 30 members of the Amish community attended the funeral of the killer.
Near the end of her article she said:
What if the Amish were in charge of the war on terror? What if, on the evening of Sept. 12, 2001, we had gone to Osama bin Laden’s house (metaphorically, of course, since we didn’t know where he lived!) and offered him forgiveness? What if we had invited the families of the hijackers to the funerals of the victims of 9/11? What if a portion of The September 11th Fund had been dedicated to relieving poverty in a Muslim country? What if we dignified the burial of their dead by our respectful grief?
What if, instead of seeking vengeance, we had stood together in human pain, looking honestly at the shared sin and sadness we suffered? What if we had tried to make peace?