Our Role in God’s Peace Plan
We can even bring light to that deep, dark place called terrorism
Our series on peace, which we began in January 2018 with “Lighting the Way to Interfaith Peace,” now examines ways to counter one of the darkest of dark places—terrorism—with the peace of Christ.
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff comfort me” (Psalm 23:4).
Jesus experienced the full onslaught of evil, and although it killed his physical body, God resurrected him, body and soul. Let’s venture forth, praying for God’s peace “that surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7), reflecting on God’s word that guides us into all truth (Psalm 119), and entrusting the bodies of the victims of terrorism to God who will resurrect them on “the last day” (John 6:40).
It’s impossible to write about terrorism in America without acknowledging the act of terror that seared the American psyche and unleashed the war on terror that continues to be waged today: 9/11. Since September 11, 2001, regrettably, many terrorist incidents have occurred in North America and around the world, committed by Americans and citizens of other countries, by individuals and groups. Terrorists act for reasons of religion, race, politics, or seemingly for no reason in particular.
How can we, as followers of Jesus, counter terrorism with God’s peace? I believe a holistic response begins with preventing as much terrorism as possible. When terrorism does occur, we must hold perpetrators to account without disproportionate retribution which only escalates the cycle of violence. Our memorials must honor victims “rightly” according to Miroslav Volf, founder and director of Yale Center for Faith and Culture, while also contributing to the healing of survivors and societies. We must obey Jesus’ command to love our enemies while protecting future victims. It is challenging, but it is one of the hottest crucibles in which to purify and demonstrate true Christianity. It may take generations and sacrifices, but that’s how Jesus founded the church—on the cross and with no force against opponents except love and good deeds.“Do I not destroy my enemies when I make them my friends?—Abraham Lincoln
It’s not our imagination. There have been numerous terrorist attacks in the last few years. It is unusual for modern Western civilizations to fear random acts of violence. However, being victims of violence was a common occurrence for the early church. Jesus’ reaction to the violence of his own death and the apostles’ reactions to persecution give us clear biblical teaching on a godly response to violence.
To read more, subscribe to Liguorian.