Our hearts and prayers go out to the people of Paris, Beirut, and Baghdad. We pray for a world overwhelmed by the extraordinary savagery visited on these cities (approximately 300 dead, 630 wounded) last week within in a 24 hour period — a world increasingly filled with fear and anger because of the vicious, unthinkable acts committed by purveyors of barbarism, some of them in the name of religion.
What will be the response? Undoubtedly, as always, retaliation — already bombing Syria, an ISIS hotbed. Meaningful retaliation is harder to administer, however, in this kind of war. ISIS and other terror groups aren’t nations. Consequently, retaliation has been piecemeal and relatively ineffective. What should be done when increasing numbers of terror disciples are embedded in over 100 nations? What should be done with scattered butchers willing to do whatever it takes to kill innocents, even if it means killing themselves, too?
Several years ago, there was a popular acronym worn by Christians on bracelets and wristbands — WWJD. What would Jesus do? The only violent act I can think of Jesus committing in the New Testament was turning over the tables of moneychangers in the temple and driving them out with a whip. (Matthew 21:12; John 2:14-15) But He said several things.
It’s insufficient to only refrain from murder; don’t even be angry. It’s no longer an eye for an eye; it’s turn the other cheek, and don’t resist an evil person. Hating your enemies is wrong; you must love them and pray for those who persecute you. (Matthew 5:21-22; 38-39; 43-44) When soldiers came to arrest Jesus, an act leading to his crucifixion, He reprimanded the apostle who cut off a soldier’s ear. (Luke 22:49-51)
Was Jesus simply telling individual Christians how to deal with others? Or was he also speaking to nations? Or do we revert to Old Testament scripture?