I saw a couple of posts recently on the way that Christians (and/or “good” non-Christians) should fight evil. A good question, because it would seem like Christians should have some kind of Christianity-based scruples that would keep them from doing things that their enemies would do. But do they?
I’m sad that political partisanship has caused adults to become disgustingly hateful people who actually want to bring physical harm to those who disagree with them. And this partisanship and hate has begun to saturate my own thinking. As I considered the story, I imagined how wonderful it would be for them to meet some unimaginably vile death. But then it dawned on me that by thinking that way, I had become one of them. I’ve allowed this world of politics to transform me into a bitter, hateful person. As a Christian, I cannot allow this to happen.
I have no problem with civilized disagreement. And I don’t intend to pursue a path that results in compromise of principles that are clearly Biblical, so disagreement with my positions is pretty much a given. But what I do hope and pray for is that those of us on the Right (side of the argument) will respond to evil with something other than evil and hatred. We should respond thoughtfully and in a way that heaps burning coals on the heads of our enemies.
More important, though, is this notion that resisting evil by whatever means it takes to defeat it is somehow makes us evil or “just like them.”
That’s bulls-. Were the Americans who slaughtered their way across Europe and the Japanese sphere of influence “evil” in World War Two? The reason we won those wars was that we became even better, greater killers than our enemies. The “just like them” folks would apparently prefer that we had opposed the Japanese and German onslaughts with flower bouquets and prayers.
Sorry. It doesn’t work that way.
We definitely have two different takes here, but these guys may also be talking past each other a little bit. Let’s see if we can’t meet in the middle.
As a Christian, when you’re faced with a conflict you want to use that conflict as a platform to demonstrate the nature of Jesus to the world, even–maybe especially–to your enemies. When you catch yourself feeling those naturally human inclinations to stomp your enemy’s face and set his crotch on fire, you flinch, because you know those aren’t Christ-like feelings. The post that I quoted from BillS, above, is a flinch.
As a human, when you’re faced with conflict, you want to win. The greater the perceived threat, the greater the desire to win, and the greater the willingness to do whatever you have to do to win. An outlook like this makes it very difficult to accept the qualms of Christians who worry about Christ-likeness. When people express concerns that aren’t totally centered around winning, it gives the impression that they think losing, in certain circumstances, is acceptable
Any human who is also a Christian is going to be familiar with both of these viewpoints. Not only are they not mutually exclusive, they live simultaneously within people more harmoniously than we think.
Any Christian who tells you that he never, ever has any desire to stomp his enemies’ faces and set their crotches on fire is lying to you. So, let me comfort Bill Quick a little bit by saying that becoming a Christian does not vaporize your will to win. It doesn’t even diminish it. What it does do, though, is make you keenly aware of the condition of your heart. Wanting victory or justice is not indicative of a sick heart; taking pleasure in the suffering of others is. I think that’s what BillS is concerned about.
However, Bill Quick is right about one thing: there are more than a few Christians who will pull up short in the struggle against evil because they think it would be un-Christian to do everything necessary to win. These are the kind people who will often say, “Violence never solved anything,” which we all know is complete hooey. To those Christians, let me say this: Evil is in the world, and it is, at every moment, trying to smother the flame of holiness. Before your carefully cultivated moral standards can amount to anything, that evil must first be defeated.
We serve a God who sent the great flood and wiped the slate clean of evil to clear the way for goodness in the world. Don’t think that you know morality better than He does.