Vets, War, Love?

Veterans Day (in the U.S.) is coming and in that I have several
military friends whom I pray for often as well as the fact I just
played a set of music for vets at an event for them and their families
in Michigan, I decided to open up more on my own thoughts on the
subject of military action.

Whether we wish to face it or not, there is an endless (and I mean
over thousands of years!) debate with many sides and differing views
to the question of warfare. That is, not IS there war, but SHOULD
there be and what are ethical (if any) reasons for fighting one as
well as other details of when and how war ought to be fought.

From my earliest years I studied and wondered about war. Why so many,
how do they start, what happens to combatants,
non-combatants/civilians, women, children, the aged, the state of
human beings after a war, the environment. What’s left of the lives
affected who survive armed conflict?

A Christian (and for that matter those of other faiths who wish to
quote the Bible) often makes biblical reference to the God of the Old
Testament and His call, even command to the people of Israel to war,
even to destroy entire people-groups.

We find story after story of many if not all of those civilizations
warring before and after such conflicts, and ample historical record
outside the Bible that human beings have been fighting, maiming and
killing one another from the beginning to this day.

War IS. Few truly love it, most tolerate it, most likely wish it would
never happen but the fact is that there is no absolute, fool-proof way
to control individual and group (be it vigilante or organized
state-sponsored) armed action.

When I was in my middle teenage years I personally took a pacifist
position. When I got married I began to wonder if that was a tenable
position to camp out on if and when my wife, children or elderly
family members were ever violently attacked… and decided that I
would have to take whatever defensive manoeuvres needed (not
“possible”… but “needed”) for their sake.

It became harder to think about when considering what might happen to
them if I allowed something to happen to me.

I cannot say with absolute certainty how I would respond to violent
personal or familial attack. The “fight or flight” concept is likely
true, but very quick decisions based on multiple and complex issues
both from a perpetrator of violence as well as your own processing of
how to react all come into play.

Then I thought about defense of friends and even strangers in the
street. What should I do in such a case? Pacifism made sense for me
alone… to a point… but not if I were in a position to help others.

Jesus indeed said “Those who live by the sword shall die by the
sword”, and went about healing, taking the suffering brought His way
for other’s sake.

Do I therefore believe He calls each of us to suffer in the exact same
way for the exact same benefits to others? No, not entirely. Neither
you nor I will ever die in order to be Savior of the world!

He went about confronting, yes- but the context was loving and
healing, not fighting or teaching His disciples to war against people,
nor how to successfully kill one another.

Here is a principle- most people eat meat, poultry and/or fish but do
not kill, butcher, package it prior to cooking and consuming.

I happen to do all the above (I hunt and sometimes fish) and my sweet
wife cooks it most of the time, and we thankfully enjoy the benefits.

Are the benefits of a given war truly beneficial, are they enjoyed,
and if so, by whom? This is a very important question indeed, and the
answer is no where near “one size fits all”.

In my own view, the issue is whether or not we glibly take human life
knowing as Christians that very likely, the human being we killed left
a spouse, perhaps children, maybe grandchildren behind to suffer and
sometimes suffer continual harm (food, housing, basic needs for
survival) as a result. Even more so, if there is an eternity to be
spent outside of the kingdom of God, if any sort of hell exists (I
believe it does) where the love of God is not shared with that person
we were part of killing, what of that?

If I were God I might have answer for why there is no violation of my
own ethics in this question.

Neither myself nor the reader is God- and to play that role by taking
another’s life is a massively huge issue.

I’m well aware of the arguments regarding murder vs. killing someone,
and they indeed are not the same.

I’m also quite fluent in a more Calvinist/reformed position that might
boil down to the fact the person we kill was predestined to their
fate- both temporal and eternal (we killed or participated in killing
them… and did not wantonly and for no reason merely murder them;
heaven or hell… we dispatched them to one or the other). Therefore,
God willed it, we were merely His agents in His pre-planned process.

I take great issue with such thinking- and one of the core problems
with it is that just as extreme charismatics/pentecostals can blow off
personal responsibility with such difficult matters by saying “God
told me” so also can reformed folks likewise by positing “God allowed
it so it was predestined to happen”. In both cases the person pulling
the trigger is absolved of personal responsibility.

The very same folks on either end of these extreme spectrums of
Christianity often harshly judge others in society for NOT “taking
responsibility for their actions” inasmuch as the other’s action or
inaction affects -them-. Somebody make sense out of this duplicity if
you can!

I’m talking about killing a human being, ending a human life, perhaps
hundreds or thousands of them and mentally/emotionally seeking a sense
of peace about doing so.

Most Christians take great opposition to abortion (so do I) but many
if not most of the same are at peace with taking human life in a time
of war. Are there ever bad, poor, wrong reasons to kill in wartime?

Again, there are believers who will likely read though this blog and
recall the Book of Revelation revealing (symbolically or not… and I
personally think it’s not only symbolic) the Lord coming with a vast
army to war against the devil and fallen angels… blood is mentioned
PLENTY in that New Testament book. Don’t get me wrong, I read it and
believe it.

Once again, none of us are GOD. Our choices, yes, political and
governmental decisions to send troops into battle are HUGE issues.

Service personnel are often killed or radically altered in mind, body,
marriage, family, job option, housing, medical care -any, all or more
of such things affect them and their loved ones, often tragically for
the rest of their lives.

ARE they ever sent for mere business interests? IS war ever about who
holds power, wealth, world-wide or at least regional clout?

IS war (any, all or some) ever -only- about defense?

Are these decisions always about majority or minority (democratic
mathematics regarding a nation) votes? Who gets to choose whether you,
your kids, your parents, your nation starts, perpetuates or finishes
this or that war? Who SHOULD get to make those choices?

People on both sides of these issues likely struggle with my
questions. So be it.

See, I don’t think these are easy or even clear-cut matters, I really don’t.

Further, I have long supported our troops though I may not support the
particular military action or war, I may and at times do disagree with
the government who sent them… this has nothing to do with my praying
for them, caring for them, worrying over them either when they go or
when they come home. These are human beings who need love and support
and whose lives are at times fully wrecked in the process.

They indeed served- or certainly believe they served me, my family,
the people of the country whose leaders sent them.

The sacrifices they and their families made and make for us are not
something to be ignored or disdained -I’ve never met a soldier, sailor
or airman who deployed themselves!

Whether or not they chose to fight in a given conflict, they went.

If Jesus commands us to love other’s -it would seem they are included
and must be included in the sharing of His love.

He also commands us to love our enemies… and that’s another blog for
another day. But I promise not to shy away from writing one about it
in the near future.

Thanks for stopping by.

His, yours, -Glenn

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2 thoughts on “Vets, War, Love?

  1. The 9/11 truth is ignored here in the US. The rest of the world, including China ( now our loan shark)has taken it as truth of that America Government allowed or even caused the Demolition of the 3 WTC buildings( was forced down/crashed flight 93 suppose to hit building 7 ?) Was that "predestined" to happen? WWII scarred Germany has devoted much of its resources to developing solar power. I live in Sunnyslope AZ. and my state receives more sun than the entire country of Germany. I think we have over 400 sunny days a year? The Mennonites from Macomb have been coming here every winter since 1910. GKB ought to visit too! But why is the only positive thing being squeezed out of this recession/depression"solar power" now being stopped? America needed to produce solar/battery powered autos for the world, but we keep built humvees and tanks instead. My pastor taught this morning that for over 1800 years the church has taught that heaven was our place of refuge where there will be social justice, no sickness and pain. But now it’s taught, it ALL here now today.

  2. <html> <head> <style><!– .hmmessage P { margin:0px; padding:0px } body.hmmessage { font-size: 10pt; font-family:Tahoma } –></style> </head> <body class=’hmmessage’><div dir=’ltr’> <BR>&nbsp;THANKS GLENN /ANOTHER NAIL FOR US TO PONDER/ [GOD BLESS YOU] – CONTINUE CONTEND N<BR> <DIV></DIV></div></body></html>

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