We are approaching a troubled moment in American history. 9/11 is the chosen name for it. There is none in the world that denies that this was a tragedy. Many victims still are in the prayers of many saints. I do still pray that these people find their healing and that Christ brings it quickly.
I keep coming back to how I experienced the 9/11 tragedy. I was sad, and yes I put an American flag on my car. It’s funny how a tragedy can make a people feel solidarity. I also remember that it was not long until we found our culprit, Osama Bin Ladin. There was a tape, a claim, and a people who believed that God was on their side or at least that they were on the side of good.
The details of how we got to Afghanistan are fuzzy, since it was so fast. But we went and fought. And we’re still there.
Then there was Iraq and the WMD’s. No one really saw these things recently (the intel was all from the 1980’s), but we knew that Sadam Hussein was up to no good. We went, we hung the man, and Iraq is still a very troubled area today.
It makes you wonder if the 3,000+ of the twin towers matches with the death count we have wreaked on the middle east did any good. We have more than doubled the deaths compared to 9/11. What do we have to show for it?
We finally found Osama, but all we really produced was a dead man who brought out a piece of everyone that is not a Christian way of thinking.
Think about how much we wanted to kill the Muslims.
Think about how happy we were to see that man shot and killed.
Think about how many soldiers have been killed that civilians are not thinking about.
Think about the people innocently killed due to the military effort.
The Scriptures talk about how the Gates of Hell will not prevail against His followers, but Christians have been slow to critique many things about this country. Gates are the entry into a castle, and the Church is supposed to attack, infiltrate, and strike from the Gates of the Evil Castle. But we’ve been shy lately. What castle are we attacking?
Is the fight against flesh and blood with guns and knives, or are we fighting on an different level?
The Scriptures shows us in Matthew 22:17-18 shows us that God’s Kingdom is not nationalistic. Many have tried to say that being a good Christian is being loyal to your country. But that does not seem to match that idea that even though “Caesar” may need your money, God owns all of you and what you own. Caesar is always subject to God. And being a child of God, you are directly subject to him.
The book of Romans puts it even better. Many refer Romans 13:1-7 as the go to verse for living, breathing, and dying true blue American (or what ever country you may be from). Many miss the fact that before that Romans 12:1-2 says to “not be conformed to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. It just reinforces Matthew 22 that I just mentioned.
The Church is part of something bigger and greater than America. We have so much good to do to this country, but sometimes the best thing to do to a nation is to critique it and show it a better way.
What is that better way?
Read the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:7-15. Now, you say that forgiving does not affect consequence, but think for a second. These words were spoken to the Jewish people who saw their men brutally killed and their sons carted off into exile by multiple foreigners before Jesus said this. This was a very real and troubling idea for them. Forgiveness meant not seeking revenge. It meant not buying into being a Zealot. It meant not being a nationalist and forgiving those who attacked your country.
As we seek to be about the Gospel and about becoming more and more like Jesus, let’s consider that Jesus was not a very violent man. Kurt Willems makes an excellent point about Judas and Jesus in the upper room. Judas has planned to betray Jesus already and Jesus knows it.
Does Jesus call down angelic hordes?
Does he get his other disciples to beat him up?
No. He washes his feet. The man who should probably be called the greatest traitor in human history, is treated just as well as the great leader of the Early Church, like Peter, James, and John. This is a far cry from what I originally thought we should do about 9/11. This is a hard teaching. It’s something I struggle with everyday.
The hardest thing about being a pacifist is that you end up not wanting to be a pacifist sometimes. Even those who seek to be peace makers when possible can find it hard at times to even think of peace.
That’s the challenge of Jesus.
Why do you fight?
What Castle are you storming?
Grace and peace to you all.
“Say to those that hate and curse you, ‘You are our brothers!'” – Theophilus of Antioch