Recently, a prominent clergy member proclaimed that God has given authority to our government to “take out” another national leader. While this person tried to explain his position with more clarity, the damage had already been done by his remark. His statement, in my opinion, was a reckless and loose understanding of the nature of God. While one could argue that the justification of war is to counter evil’s destructive force, to endorse God’s wrath upon God’s own children seems to be an immature perspective of God.
The analogy that “war is hell” is completely true. Hell is a severance from God’s presence and purpose. War, therefore, means that this type of activity is completely opposite of what God would want of God’s children.
Combat veterans’ know the devastating impact of war. As children, war may have been perceived as an innocent by-product of a boy’s imagination. Indeed, many war games have been played in backyards and on TV’s. The impact of real war, however, changes perspectives in a hurry. Real war is not a game. Real war is a real loss of lives. It is the real shedding of blood from an open wound. It is the real loss of limbs. Real war is not what anyone would want, certainly not God! Those who irresponsibly advocate that war is a solution to conflict has not tasted or smelled the destruction of war … they have just not!
I certainly understand the counter arguments regarding confronting the “Hitlers” of the world. There is a reason we have a military. But even hard core veterans will say that the destructive pathway of war should be the very last action taken to counter evil. Loose rhetoric and threatening words lead to nowhere. Christians, in particular, should always advocate the pathway of Jesus in dealing with the evils of the world. If we proclaim that God is love and that we are the “hands and feet” of Christ, how can we possibly allow ourselves to justify violence as a solution to a problem? We can’t.