Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. – Matthew 5:9
Every true Christian in the United States, by definition finds that they are conflicted regarding our place in society. For example, we (Christians) are told that our citizenship is in heaven (Phil.3:20). So while we are in our mortal bodies we are subject to human authorities (Romans 13), we believe there is a higher Authority that we must obey over man's commands (Acts 4:19). We "render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's while rendering unto God the things that are God's" (which, ultimately, is everything!). We don't carry swords so as to defend Christ or His kingdom (John 18:36), yet we may be called upon to carry the sword so as to uphold justice in the land (see Luke 3:14 where soldiers were not told to put away their swords by John the Baptist; Romans 13:4). I don't see it any other way than to say we are conflicted. We truly try and obey two masters at the same time (one earthly the other divine) and these two are not always in agreement.
This was Sergeant Alvin York's dilemma in WWI. It was Desmond Doss's dilemma in WWII (see the film Hacksaw Ridge for a great overview of Doss's life and struggle). It is the dilemma of every thoughtful Christian today: how to live as a peacemaker in a world that is full of all kinds of barbarity, cruelty and injustice?
This much I know…
- We should pray. Specifically we are commanded to "pray for the peace of Jerusalem" (Psalm 122:6). As many of this world's skirmishes STILL involve that small portion of land called Israel, the command to pray for Jerusalem's peace seems like an ETERNAL command. If only Jerusalem (and Israel) could come to peace with the rest of the world our entire world's level of hostility would most certainly come down.
- Promote peace, not war. President Harry Truman said "War is hell" and I don't know anyone who has ever disagreed with him. No one comes through a war unhurt, unscathed. Even the victors pay dearly. Think of what the Iraqi War has cost the U.S. over the past nearly 20 years. The figure is astronomical just in terms of the financial cost, let alone the human cost.
- Pray for those in authority over us. I have, for years, made the comment, "We really have no idea what is really going on." The level of sophistication when it comes to surveillance, armaments, defense, cyber warfare, explosives, nuclear warheads, EMP bombs…on and on and on. What our government or any government knows or can do is beyond us. So we need to pray that those in authority would have wisdom, would seek the face (and wisdom) of God (James 1:5), and would do what is right. These things we should pray for constantly (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
May the way of Christ, the higher and better way of doing what is right rather than being on top, win the day in our modern world of international conflict. Amen? Amen.