Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Killing in the Name of Peace

Killing in the Name of Peace

For my friend, “native son”

Twitter has many uses… so many that naming them would be pointless. Personally I may be a bit on the irresponsible side with the postings I write, but my goal is to make a point; I try to get people to stop and think… I purposely hit on taboos or thoughts that the everyday person may think but doesn’t say. The other day I wrote a post saying: “Iran wants to blow up Israel...Can someone please bring back assassinations? God! It would only be a short list.” Followed by: “I'd love to start with Castro! Then Chavez... Maybe throw some other commis in there”

I was immediately challenged asking how I can advocate the killing of one of God’s creations?” I’m sure the idea of assassination is even worse to anyone that disagrees with me. Beyond that initial challenge I was quoted some scripture all of which supported an idea of pacifism. The first being Romans 12:19 “…‘Vengeance is mine’ says the Lord…” And of course Mathew 5:39, “…Turn the other cheek…”

I don’t mean to discount those arguments and I completely understand that there are more than just those verses that call for what would sounds like pacifism. Yet God does not expect pacifism…
I feel I know the bible well and thought that defending the idea of assassinating a tyrant could be defended in the bible easily because of the value God puts on each and every life. But it can’t. Yes there are times when we are expected to stop a crime or an injustice or to protect those who cannot protect them selves with lethal force if necessary, but premeditated murder of a person is not what we are released biblically to do. Capital punishment and war have an accountability and are often consequences after a sentence. (obviously there are corrupt countries and powers who deviate from moral action) that is another matter…

Yes there are areas in the Old Testament that called for capital punishment, there are kings that if killed could of drastically improved the lives of the Israelites. But, all matters of ending someone’s life in the bible was specifically ordained by God. For all capital punishments there were stipulations that needed to be addressed. There was no grey area, but where there was disagreement there was accountability. Even in war, it was God who said when wars were to be fought. David seemed to have special favor with God. Yet even in that favor God did not allow David to build His temple:
1 Chronicles 22
6 Then he called for his son Solomon, and charged him to build a house for the LORD God of Israel.
7 And David said to Solomon: “My son, as for me, it was in my mind to build a house to the name of the LORD my God; 8 but the word of the LORD came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and have made great wars; you shall not build a house for My name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in My sight. 9 Behold, a son shall be born to you, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies all around. His name shall be Solomon, for I will give peace and quietness to Israel in his days.

God sent David on most of those wars. In reading this passage you might wonder why God penalized David for following His direction. However, David went beyond God’s direction. The blood on David’s hands was a product of David’s zealousness for God. David killed more men than God commanded to satisfy his own appetite and not God’s plan. The Temple was a symbol of that. God did not ask for a temple yet David felt He should have one. God answered David’s request but through his son and not through David. David’s downfall was his not looking to see God’s plan but instead forging his own; though he felt is was for God, it still was not in God’s plan.
David’s story gives an example of places God has not ordained deaths even to enemies. But in the Book of Daniel we see a picture of God’s perspective on evil rulers:
Daniel 5
13 Then Daniel was brought in before the king. The king spoke, and said to Daniel, “Are you that Daniel who is one of the captives from Judah, whom my father the king brought from Judah? 14 I have heard of you, that the Spirit of God is in you, and that light and understanding and excellent wisdom are found in you. 15 Now the wise men, the astrologers, have been brought in before me, that they should read this writing and make known to me its interpretation, but they could not give the interpretation of the thing. 16 And I have heard of you, that you can give interpretations and explain enigmas. Now if you can read the writing and make known to me its interpretation, you shall be clothed with purple and have a chain of gold around your neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.”
17 Then Daniel answered, and said before the king, “Let your gifts be for yourself, and give your rewards to another; yet I will read the writing to the king, and make known to him the interpretation. 18 O king, the Most High God gave Nebuchadnezzar your father a kingdom and majesty, glory and honor. 19 And because of the majesty that He gave him, all peoples, nations, and languages trembled and feared before him. Whomever he wished, he executed; whomever he wished, he kept alive; whomever he wished, he set up; and whomever he wished, he put down. 20 But when his heart was lifted up, and his spirit was hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him. 21 Then he was driven from the sons of men, his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild donkeys. They fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till he knew that the Most High God rules in the kingdom of men, and appoints over it whomever He chooses.
22 “But you his son, Belshazzar, have not humbled your heart, although you knew all this. 23 And you have lifted yourself up against the Lord of heaven. They have brought the vessels of His house before you, and you and your lords, your wives and your concubines, have drunk wine from them. And you have praised the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood and stone, which do not see or hear or know; and the God who holds your breath in His hand and owns all your ways, you have not glorified. 24 Then the fingers of the hand were sent from Him, and this writing was written.
25 “And this is the inscription that was written:
26 This is the interpretation of each word. MENE: God has numbered your kingdom, and finished it; 27 TEKEK: You have been weighed in the balances, and found wanting; 28 PERES: Your kingdom has been divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.” 29 Then Belshazzar gave the command, and they clothed Daniel with purple and put a chain of gold around his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom. 30 That very night Belshazzar, king of the Chaldeans, was slain. 31 And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.
It is God who determines who leads and who dies. He allows evil men to rule but also numbers their days. Every man will be accountable for his actions and it is God’s justice that we wait on. It is our faith in Him that we believe that the evil men in this world will find their judgment day…

So I stand corrected. Though evil men like Castro live beyond great men like Regan. I have to believe that on some level it is a picture of God’s mercy that they have more time to turn from their ways. It is only this life that we can make this choice. After it we all will stand before God.
I owe my friend “native son” and apology and a sincere thanks you. I am happy to know that I can still learn something…