“Bomb those bastards” is a phrase I am hearing more and more in relationship to the crisis in the Middle East. Even more disturbing is that it comes from the mouths of well-intentioned followers of Jesus Christ. The topic of pacifism and justified war is sticky, and needs to be treated with respect, but from my perspective Jesus was a peace preaching messenger of His Abba. I have my own thoughts regarding the temple cleansing, but to keep the focus where it needs to be for this essay, I’ll leave that off the table. (Read my thoughts on the temple cleansing act here.)
What do we do regarding the atrocities and abhorrent behavior of those semi-men Isis? How do we handle the beheading of children, women, families all because they are Christians? How can we justify anything but violent retribution as an answer to their murder?
When I first started reading about these people, I was utterly shocked. Not at the fact that humans could act this way, history has proven we can, and do. No, I was shocked at how quickly the call to violent retribution came from the mouths of Jesus followers. How quickly we have forgotten our own history and testimony of the redemptive love of God.
There was a man once who went around proclaiming that his “God” ordained the death of infants. He praised this god, rejoiced in his violence and bloodshed, and proclaimed it to be God’s will. Who was this man? A Muslim? A Pagan? An Egyptian warlord? No. King David. Psalm 137:8-9 ...