Romans 12

Today’s news of a terrorist plot to down up to ten airliners traveling to the United States is very troubling. How can we stop such events from occurring? Conventional wisdom and especially conventional political wisdom seems to favor the fostering of xenophobic reactions. With the war in Iraq going badly, the carnage of Israel and Lebanon on all the major cable outlets one could begin to question the success of war in general, but now with this renewed threat it will be easy to lead us back to a warlike footing.

Reading many recent articles and listening with the ear of my heart to that still small voice within I realize that it is only through trust in our creator can we survive such events. Reliance on weapons systems and other human intelligence systems is flawed and will only bring further terror and bewilderment. St. Francis was an enlightened warrior who experienced first hand the failure of war and weapons systems to provide security. His time as a prisoner of war was the seedbed from which his later spiritual regeneration was born. I’m an idealist and a follower of the Gospel and within me burns the realization that only through the application of Gospel principles shall we ever know peace as individuals and as nations. The lion will not lay down with the lamb because one or the other has a more powerful weapons system. The shalom of the Prince of Peace can only come when we love one another as he has loved us. We must embrace our enemies and we must embrace their hatred. Only when we embrace them will we succeed in pacifying them and us.

To many the way of spirituality and the way of Jesus appears the way of weakness and defeat, but the triumphs of Gandhi and Martin Luther King give ample testimony that the way of non-violence is the only way to succeed. Only when we receive our enemy and love him/her will we succeed in pacifying them. Beware of the wolves in sheep’s clothing who honor Christ with the their lips. Their deeds don’t match their words. I was thinking again today of Romans 12 and of my own experience with conflict and combat. The non-violent warrior will be hurt as all fighting does hurt, but if we follow the wisdom of Romans 12:19-21 we will come to love our enemy and our enemy will come to love us.

“Beloved, do not look for revenge but leave room for the wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”Rather, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals upon his head. Do not be conquered by evil but conquer evil with good.”

Pax et Bonum

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peace, war, weapons, terror, st.francis, gandhi, king

7 Replies to “Romans 12”

  1. Don, i doubt that this kind of people will ever love us. Like Nazis and Communists before them, this new ideology make the hearts hard as stone. On the other hand hatred is not a solution. Do you remember Jesus´ adivice to be wise like snakes and meek like doves? Or the parable about diamonds in front of pigs? Yes, we will win with love, but with wise, realistic love.I am sorry, and I say this with all due respect: idealism is not enough in dealing with evil.

  2. I think, though, that it’s important to remember that the vast majority have not given over their hearts to evil, and would not give them over at all were it not for the despair that breeds hatred. We were able to take Hitler from power by the sword, but Nazis still exist among us. We can only fight hatred with love, ignorance with wisdom, death with life, pain with healing, darkness with light. When we are wise, we look at the causes of war in the heart before they get to the sword.

  3. In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus says, “do not resist the evil person.” That’s a tall order and not easily practiced, but it can be practiced with faith, prayer and perserverance. I know from personal experience that it works and the suffering is redemptive and the experience can change the enemy. Peace.:-)

  4. I want to add something concerning the current situation: those who spread hatred in ME are not desperate at all…they use the poverty and desperation of others to reach their ends. It is exactly like with the Communists. I am an east-european, I know how manipulative and evil are the people serving an ideology. Nothing justify violence: not even despair.

  5. No, but a lot of the foot-soldiers would be unavailable for this if they weren’t despairing. Happy, contented people don’t join the Molly Maguires. I grew up during the mine closures in Appalachia, and my dad was even mistakenly harmed in the ensuing conflict. If the poverty and desperation weren’t there, the people spreading the violence wouldn’t have much to work with.

  6. Don,

    Beautiful post. The hard question of course, is how to protect innocents other than ourselves, and what we owe to them.

    Christ seemed to know that He was asking His followers to do something even more courageous than what a warrior needs to do when he goes into battle. Interesting isn’t it? Non-violence takes much more courage than fighting. The non-violent must be able to face the near certainty of his own death without resisting. It takes incredible faith in God’s existence and in His will to interven in human affairs. Jesus, Gandhi, MLK… They were all able to do this. It takes an incredible leap of faith, and incredible trust in the goodness and saving power of God. When Jesus speaks of the “few” who will hear his voice and follow Him, I think this is what he was talking about, and not the notion of an elite Godly elect.

  7. My has drawn the most comments of any I’ve posted so far. To be sure the innocents of Auschwitz, Dachau etc. The innocent civilians in Israel, Lebanon and Iraq. The innocent folks who found themselves passengers on airliners on September 11, 2001. The innocents at the Pentagon on 9/11. I could go on and on. The list is endless. The death of innocent people is mind boggling and gut wrenching. The actions of people with murderous intent is also mind boggling and appalling. The complete and utter disregard for human life is despicable whether by Hezbollah, Al Quaida, the Nazis. Modern warriors euphemistically refer to killing with and bombing as “surgical strikes”, “collateral damage”, “fish in a barrel” all belie actions that are contrary to any code of behavior or God’s law whether a child of Abraham or another religious tradition. All life is sacred. 🙂

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