Swords Into Plowshares

The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them. The cow will feed with the bear, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The infant will play near the hole of the cobra, and the young child put his hand into the viper’s nest. They will neither harm nor destroy on all my holy mountain, for the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. (Isaiah 11:6-9)

I’m in a bible study right now called Journey 101: Knowing, Loving, and Serving God. We’ve studied last week on how to study scripture, and this week on Christian Ethics. Both of those topics could (and have) led to doctoral dissertations, so I’m no where near the point of claiming any sort of authority.

But, the combination of the two topics has led to some interesting thoughts that are hard for me to rationalize.

War, for example.

When I read that Jesus said “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” and I study this, I have more trouble than I think I’ve ever felt before with the concept of war. Resolving conflict with violence, while according to my God is never the answer, so often becomes the default.

How often have we heard of the concept of the “just” war? Is there such a thing?

Is it right to defend your family when someone brings violence upon them?

Is it wrong to stop someone from hurting your country by preemptively engaging them?

I don’t know that I know the answers to those questions anymore. Or at the very least, I’m having great difficulty with the positions that I’ve taken on those issues previously, and I can’t help but think that through the Holy Spirit I’m being told to be a more peace-loving person, as an issue of social justice.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. (Matthew 5:9).

Live by the sword, die by the sword?