Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Pacifism, yet again

Joe Cathey has another post against pacifism. I promise I won't keep answering each post he makes, really. I don't want it to appear that he and I are in a shouting (or shooting?) match. We aren't. We have different opinions, but respect each other's opinions.

Joe mentions that he has lived in places where he felt the need to carry a weapon to defend himself and his family. I also have lived in less than pleasant surroundings. While I was a student at the University of Chicago, our car was broken into each year. Our next door neighbor was held up at gunpoint. Debbie (my wife) saw (and reported) a car theft in broad daylight.

During that time, I walked back and forth to school on the same path as my neighbor (a law school student, incidentally). I carried a laptop computer (this was in the mid '80s, a rarity then) with me in plain sight. We went for walks as a family in the evening. We went for bike rides around the neighborhood and along the lake shore. We were never once bothered. I will not venture to guess why my neighbor was held up and I wasn't. Perhaps it was because I didn't dress in anything other than bluejeans and a t-shirt. Perhaps it was the way I walked. I prefer to think that it was God. Now, if I had been held up, would that mean God failed? Absolutely not! When we go where God puts us, we are His responsibility.

My daughter was with YWAM and spent 3 months in Kyrgyzstan. This was in 2000, before 9/11. The next year, a family member said something to the effect of "you wouldn't go now, would you?" Her answer made me proud. She said, "Well, if that is where God sent me and I didn't go, then I would be disobeying, wouldn't I."

I don't want to be responsible for sending someone to hell. We are called to be salt and light. Can you see Peter or Paul with a gun? OK, a sword? We know Peter knew how to use one, not well, but he tried. But, did he after Pentecost? I doubt it. Paul walked on some pretty nasty roads during his missionary journeys. He says "in danger on the road" in 2 Cor. (The roads in the rural Roman Empire were havens for robbers; you traveled in large groups for safety.) Where was their protection? The same place as Ezra's (see Ezra 8). In God.

The bottom line is always the same. Do you depend on God to protect you where He sends you, or do you use man's tools to accomplish divine purposes? I John 4:4 says, "Little children, you are of God, and have overcome them; for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world." (RSV) I don't think John was referring to weapons...

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