There are some issues where I end up struggling with what I know to be right as a follower of Jesus. I know I am supposed to love God, love others, and turn the other cheek, as it were.
Sometimes I honestly can’t really do that.
Not that I have acted in any sort of way, but I think about how I would like to act. That can sometimes be more than a little harshly.
I think of the Jerry Sandusky case from a few years ago, where he was convicted of raping several young boys. He went to prison, but was entirely unrepentant, and denies wrong-doing to this day.
I remember thinking that if I ever came upon someone doing something similar (as an assistant coach did at Penn State), that person would likely need some severe dental and facial reconstruction.
I think I would still do that today.
Now, we have Islamic State (IS) militants (I will not use the word soldier to describe those men), decapitating US reporters with what look to be your average hunting knife. They proudly release video of those men being executed for simply being Americans. First, James Foley, and now the other man shown in Foley’s execution video, Steven Sotloff, was also beheaded. Threatened was a British journalist.
My outrage at these barbarities exists on several levels. As an American, I want our armed forces to sweep down on these animals and wipe them from the face of the earth. Because that is what you do with rabid animals who are a threat to human life.
You put them down.
Except it isn’t that simple, not with Jesus.
I know vengeance is his, and that these men will in due time pay the penalty due their sins. It’s just difficult to see these black-clad cowards spout their rhetoric and murder people and walk away from it.
It does not seem right, not ever.
And I think that is because it isn’t right. But these men don’t follow Jesus. Also, based on what I have heard of Islam, they do not necessarily follow Allah, either.
They exist outside of law (because the shariah law they claim to follow is barbaric horse manure, and not representative of any sort of god), and any traditional morality. They exist outside of humanity, and seem nearly a representation of the demonic rather than anything human.
As a man, and a human being, I want to blow them out of their black “uniforms” and into another dimension.
There is no doubt in my mind they deserve it.
But I think given the opportunity, I don’t know if I would be able to do any such thing. Because of Galatians 2:20.
I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. (NIV)
Nothing in that verse—or any verse I know of—tells me to take revenge for anyone, no matter how unjustly their lives have ended.
If Christ lives in me, then I am no longer capable of killing, whether or not it seems righteous, or justified.
If these men are my enemies—and they sure seem to be—then I am supposed to love them.
How on earth do I do that, when what I really want is the complete opposite?
I think the struggle against what I want vs. what I know to be right will be what ultimately defines me as well as how I represent Jesus to those who do not know him.
I just wish I didn’t have such clear instruction.