There is a very real struggle inside of a man who has made a decision to follow Christ but has also dedicated his life to defending his country in the armed forces. It is a struggle that atheists and men who are trying to fill a carnal desire to commit violent acts will never understand.
In order to understand this dynamic, first we need to understand the world that we live in today. It is a violent world, period. We can walk around with tie-dye shirts waving peace signs and spouting off the world peace rhetoric, but that doesn’t make the world a peaceful place. We live in a world where evil and violence are rampant and no one is truly safe. From the wars of ancient times, violent rulers from Assyria, Greece, Rome lead into more violence from the Muslim insurrection and the Crusades. Then the sweeping violent murderous reign of the communists across the world. Whatever period of time you look at from Cain killing Abel to the modern persecution of Christians in Africa, there is a violent thread. Ever since man turned from God, there has been violence. Sometimes this violence comes right to our front door and threatens our lives and the lives of those we love. So, how is it we are supposed to respond in light of the famous quote, “Love thy enemies?” (Matthew 5:44)
I have stood amongst giants.
Our military is the most well equipped, well trained and fittest military in the history of the world. Our warriors stand ready to do violence on behalf of the notion that they protect the greatest idea ever conceived by man, The United States of America. Within our military, there are some who crave the fight. There are some who are not just prepared to do the job, but are craving that next engagement. The engagement where the adrenaline is telling all of the senses to prepare themselves for battle. These men embrace the violence and feed off the victory in gaining the tactical advantage. There is nothing more awe inspiring than standing shoulder to shoulder with these men. These men are fathers, brothers, husbands and patriots.
How do we justify this violence?
Many of our warriors feel as though they are called to something bigger than themselves. They serve something bigger. Sometimes it takes a number of years of service for this concept to really set in. But our service-members serve something much bigger than themselves. They really do know that there are evils in the world that threaten our safety, security and way of life and are willing to sacrifice their lives for what they love. Their violence is justified through their love. “"Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)
Peace cannot be gained through violence. Sin entered this world and began the decay that leads to death and destruction. Satan works actively to deceive us to believe that our selfish desires can be attained through violent acts. The only acts that glorify God and elicit the thrill of victory are acts of love and peace. It is the love of our wives that strengthens families. It is the love of our children that grows a generation that is strong and loves their God. It is the love of our neighbors that shows Christ’s love in the community and demands a response of more love and peace. It is the love of our enemies that shows that we understand that God is in control. It is the full comprehension of Christ ruling and reigning in the world for eternity.
Christian Warriors and Violence.
Christians are not called to be violent. There is not a single verse in the Bible that commands us to go to another people group and commit violent acts on behalf of God. Any religion or group or cult that does so, is a product of Satan. John 10:10 tells us that the thief comes to steal and kill. Yet Jesus Himself told his disciples to sell their cloaks and buy a sword. (Luke 22:36) As warriors who have been called to service to Christ and feel the strong desire to still serve in our military, we may wrestle with the commission of violence. Remember that it was the Centurion that Jesus said had greater faith than any other He had found in Israel. (Matthew 8:5-15) It seems as though Jesus knew that violent times were upon us. That we would have to defend our lives. We would have to defend our way of life and the lives of our friends and neighbors. To be clear, all of the disciples were martyred. They were not in a position to defend the livelihood of their families and community, they were put in a position to deny Christ and would not. This is where the line is drawn. God does not need us to defend Him, ever. We do not go out and commit violent acts because of God. We commit violent acts as a result of a fallen world. A world where evil, if left alone, will creep around murdering and destroying everything in its path.
The desire for righteousness is righteousness.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Matthew 5:6) A man will never be satisfied if he is committing violence to fill his carnal desire. A man that does not know God may wrestle the lack of understanding of the lack of peace in the world. Men with false gods may do violence of behalf of their god and find their fault in the end. But men who strive to protect the sanctity of the freedoms in our great nation will be satisfied through Christ’s righteousness. It is the striving to be a good servant, who protects women and children, the elderly and sick, the poor and downtrodden, that will be satisfied in the end.
For those who never returned from the battlefield, your sacrifice is not in vain.
For those who continue to serve, Godspeed and thank you.
For the warriors of tomorrow, seek God and His purposes. Let Him guide your life and only commit to violence when absolutely necessary.
May the God of Peace bring us all together in the end and allow us all to find rest from the battlefield; in His great love.