Tuesday, May 3, 2011
I will not rejoice!
As a Christian I want to be better than that. I want to call from myself, and those who represent me, efforts that are rooted in the shalom of Christ. And so I stand in this ambivalent way, not rejoicing but not maligning the actions of my President or military either. I am not likely to find fault with the leaders who brought about this mission militarily. Just as I have never maligned Harry Truman for the A-bomb in 1945 or Kennedy for the Bay of Pigs. It was what it was. Were their actions just? Only God knows. No one today can stand in the shoes of those leaders knowing what they knew at the time any more that I can stand in the shoes of our leaders today.
I want my nation to live more clearly what it means to be Christ’s own in their lives so that they do not resort to violence. I want them to understand that violence only begets violence. So I continue to preach what I preach. I continue to write what I write.
In the Middle East things are happening in Egypt, in Libya, Syria and other places in the Moslem nations that are boiling up from the bottom that are not rooted in violence. There is a weariness of fighting and a deep longing for freedom from dictatorship. Hopefully they will be able to create among themselves a kind of governmental system that is appropriate for them that will take into account the needs of the people. Who will be the Thomas Paines of their struggle; who will be the Thomas Jeffersons or Ben Franklins of their revolutions? Even the Deists who formulated the Constitution and finally the Bill of Rights knew that vengeance could not be sustained as a policy without it costing us our liberty. And hopefully they will know that the salaam of Allah can only be found in the willingness to listen and compromise.
So my ambivalence stands. The media can string this story out for as long as they want. I won’t be glad. I will respect the precision with which our forces did their job and commend their willingness to put themselves in harm’s way. But I will not rejoice in it. It is time for us to know that peace is much harder to maintain than is war and costs us much more than young men and women’s lives. It cost us power and might. It costs us economic sovereignty; it costs us pride. But after all, that is what we need to give to know the peace of God.