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Christianity In America

What Would Jesus Do?September 11, 2001
(originally published September 15, 2001)
MTA Home > what would we do?

Attack On America - What Should We Do?
Why did God let this happen?
What can I do?

What should we do?

We should ask, "What would Jesus do?"

To figure out what Jesus would have done (or would have approved of others doing) we need to look at Jesus' life, His teaching in the New Testament and God's word throughout the Bible. Remember, there is ONE God and Jesus is God. Jesus was there at creation and is with us now.

1. Jesus taught that the greatest commandment is that we love God and one another. He taught that when we are wronged, we should turn the other cheek. If a thief should steal our shirt, we should give him our coat. We should respond to wrongs with love.

When Jesus was teaching this, He was showing us how we are to respond as individuals. This does not apply to how we should respond when others are involved. Should someone wish to rape our wife, should we stand by and offer our daughter? No, never! Should someone break into our neighbor's home, should we invite them to rob ours also? No, never! We call 911!

In Romans 13:4 we learn this about government: "for it [government] does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil."

If we are to truly love our neighbor and all people, we must fight and stop evil. To let evil have free reign in the world is not love for our neighbors. But we are not called to take individual action. We are are to let God's chosen instrument, our government, take the appropriate action -- using the weapons of war (the sword) as necessary to bring wrath on those who pratice evil.

2. Jeus taught love. However, we should do more. Again, we need to ask, what would Jesus do?

First, a strong military response is necessary. There is no doubt about that. Both the Bible and history tell us that a lack of strong response, or a weak response will not solve the problem. In Romans 13:4 quoted above, the word "wrath" (sometimes also translated as "terror") is not a weak word. It is a strong word, telling us that our response should be strong - we should bring wrath (or terror) on those who do evil.

Does this mean we should seek revenge? No, that is not the way! Neither the Bible nor history support revenge.

I suggest that, to be true to Jesus' teachings and God's word in the Bible, we need a major reponse of wrath -- meaning power, military might. Not as revenge, but to eliminate the problem. And we need a strong response of love, again targeted at solving the problem.

How can this be done? I'll have to leave the military planning to the military leaders. But, I suggest that we include a huge response of love for those not involved in the evil. A response that includes building schools, roads, hospitals, farms, homes and businesses. A response that helps refugees with love and compassion.

A specific suggestion: If we were to work hard now to help the refugees already in Pakistan, for example, we might be able to turn aside their present hatred of America and save the lives of many American soldiers.

Relief agencies, churches, governments -- the aid planes should be on the way now! To wherever they are needed in the world.

I pray that we are willing to sacrifice as much for love as we are for military action.

What does history teach? How have terrorists been defeated in the past? Can you think of any instance in which terrorists have been defeated by military might alone? Can you think of any instance in which terrorist leadership has been eliminated, and not been replaced by new leadership? Northern Ireland? Columbia? The Middle East?

It might be possible. But, I don't like the answer when we look at using only military force. The only way we might be able to defeat terrorism militarily would be to take complete control of the source of that terrorism - which in this case would mean a new America. An Imperial America. A totalitarian America with the world as it's empire. That's the only way terrorism might possibly be stopped with military might alone -- and that probably is not enough.

Terrorism stops when the people (those for whom the terrorists are supposedly fighting) say, "STOP! We won't support you. We will no longer hide you."

If our military, for example, invades Afghanistan, every Afghan who hears the sound of gunfire will grab a rifle and come running to kill the soldiers of the "great satan." But what if they hear the sound of construction cranes and farm tractors coming to build roads, schools and farms? Yes, some of the construction workers and "invading" farmers will be killed. But is someone any less of a hero by dying because they drove a tractor instead of a tank?

Construction workers, teachers and farmers can not defeat terrorists by themselves. Neither can military might. But possibly together they offer the answer we seek.

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