I have had this post sitting in my draft box for a couple of days now. I have also rewritten it a couple of times. I feel that is this a very touchy subject to even come close to writing about. But, at the same time I feel that it is one that we must tackle.
How should we react to such attacks as what happened on Monday in Manchester? I know how I react, with horror. With anger, with happiness. What? Wait? Why happiness I’m sure your wondering? Because the person who actually bombed the place is dead. That person can no longer hurt anyone else.
But, is that the way Jesus wants us to react? Is that what the Bible teaches us to react? If I am to be 100% honest with everyone right now, I don’t really want to know. I want to react like the rest of the world. Do I want to turn the other cheek? Do I want to love my enemy? No, why do we need to do that to people who do such horrendous acts? Do I want to forgive them for such acts? Remember Jesus told us to forgive 70 times 7? If we look at the Lord’s prayer we ask Christ to forgive us as we forgive those who trespass against us! Why does it have to include those that do acts like this?
So, where should we go from here? Should I define terrorism for you? Should I define what should we do? How does one go on from here? I will go on by defining it first cause it is always good to start that way then we can look to see how the Bible says that we should react.
the unlawful use of violence and intimidation, especially against civilians, in the pursuit of political aims.
The definition we come to seems very easy. So, what does God say on how we should act when these type of people attack us? This has been a really hard find for me. This has been a hard post to post on also.
As I was searching this topic I was able to find a few articles that I thought would help us along in this search on what the Bible might have said about terrorism. What I found out was the Bible doesn’t have much to say on the subject sine there wasn’t much terrorism during Biblical times, at least not as what we see of it today. There most likely would have been but because of the way news had to get around the news was spread much slower than it is today. So, terrorist have more of an advantage in today’s age to spread their terrorism than they did in the Biblical times.
I also found that the Old Testament had rules of warfare for Israel and that they were held to that standard. A lot of it comes from Deuteronomy. Here are some of the topics that we deal with today from terrorist that God told Israel not to do:
Suicide Bombers (Deuteronomy 20:5-8)
Offering Peace and with it a warning to allow non-combatants to leave the city (Deuteronomy 20:10)
Israel was NOT allowed to attack civilians and were reminded on the wickedness of their enemies (Deuteronomy 9:4-6)
Condemnation for shedding innocent blood (Deuteronomy 27:25 and Proverbs 6:16-18)
Those who use terror tactics and inspire terror on non-combatants are rebuked (Jeremiah 7:6 19:4 22:3,17)
Even on a small scale (Deuteronomy 19:11)
There is no bloodshed to defend Christ (Matthew 10:52)
Overthrowing the Government (Romans 13:1)
Christians are to overcome evil by doing good (Romans 12:21)
I got all these things from What does the Bible say about terrorism.
So, now we know how God feels about terrorism, now we need to see what it is that we should do as a Christian when there is an act of terrorism. That is the hard part.
The Bible says that we are not to take punishment into our own hands but to defer vengeance to God through legitimately established governments.
The apostle Paul:
“Do not repay anyone evil for evil” (Romans 12:17)
“Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath” (Romans 12:19).
The Bible teaches that vengeance belongs to God because only He knows perfectly the hearts of men and only He can temper vengeance and justice.
“It is written: ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ says the Lord.” (Romans 12:19).
“It is mine to avenge; I will repay. In due time their foot will slip” (Deuteronomy 32:35).
“It is mine to avenge; I will repay” (Hebrews 10:30)
“The Lord is a jealous and avenging God . . . . The Lord is slow to anger and great in power; the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished” (Nahum 1:2-3).
As we can see God is the one that will be getting the ones that have done the terror attacks. I don’t think that we need to worry about that at all!
The Bible says that the way to overcome evil is not through personal retaliation or hatred but through personal good and compassion.
One more time the apostle Paul:
“Do not be overcome by evil” (Romans 12:21)
“Overcome evil with good” (Romans 12:21)
“He who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law” (Romans 13:8)
Add to this the words of Jesus:
“Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matthew 5:39)
And read what the psalmist David said:
“Do not fret because of evil men” (Psalm 37:1)
“Trust in the Lord and do good” (Psalm 37:3)
“Do not fret when men succeed in their ways, when they carry out their wicked schemes” (Psalm 37:7)
“Refrain from anger and turn from wrath” (Psalm 37:8)
“Do not fret-it leads only to evil” (Psalm 37:8)
David, Paul and Jesus understood God’s command to Moses:
“Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against one of your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:18).
SO HOW SHOULD A CHRISTIAN RESPOND?
#1 Let’s show the world in these desperate days what the love of God is like.
The discipline of love in the face of adversity is what distinguishes the Christian from other people (John 13:35). This is a time for us not only to show Christ’s love to our brothers and sisters in Christ, but also to others who need to feel the warmth of that love in the cold aftermath of loss.
#2 Let’s be much in prayer for the safety of those who are demonstrating love to others by their brave actions.
Military forces, police, firemen, rescue workers, doctors, nurses and volunteers of all kinds are living out Jesus’ words, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Those who risk their lives for others are set in stark contrast to the cowardly terrorists who used the lives of others as a shield for their despicable acts. Let’s pray for these men and women and thank God for them.
#3 Let’s speak up for understanding, tolerance, justice and forgiveness.
While you and I cannot tolerate the methods of these terrorists, their actions arose from the frustration of their feelings of helplessness and hopelessness. Who better to try to understand that hopelessness than those of us who have found hope in Christ. We need to be vocal in our insistence that there should be zero tolerance for any backlash of hatred against Muslims, Arabs, or people of Middle Eastern. That will demonstrate the love of Christ. “But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:15).
#4 Let’s be a voice for calm in an atmosphere of hatred and retaliation.
James said it so well: “My dear brothers, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. For man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires” (James 1:19-20).
#5 Let’s be men and women of prayer, both for those who victimized and those who were their victims.
Pray for Christians everywhere who have the opportunity to minister hope and comfort to bereaved families. “Pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective” (James 5:16).
And while we pray for the families of the victims of terror, let’s pray as well for the families of terrorists. God’s grace and love extends to them too (John 3:16). “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:44)
I got this information from Back to the Bible: How Should a Christian Respond to Terrorism.