In case you haven’t heard the news, we’ve moved to a new location.
We’ve been working on getting it up for a while, to explain why we haven’t written many posts recently  (been saving it all for the new blog).  Check it out here!!!
The Fourth Call (There is a new entry over there too)!

 1. Where to pray
“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.” -Matthew 6:5-6

-Sure some people are very gifted in how they pray in public. Group prayer is not bad, but there are those who try to pray in order to seem holy and in order to draw attention to themselves.  They are not praying with a true heart, but for prideful intent. When you are to pray, we should do it privately.  It is really cool to think that our Father is in secret and when we pray in secret to Him, He is the only one who will see you and knows your heart. That’s so wonderful.

2. Length of Prayer
“And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him.” -Matthew 6:7-8

- When I was 13, I used to pray at night with my mom in her room. I’d pray for a good 30 minutes.  She would fall asleep as I’d pray.  It is better to pray short prayers from the heart and say little, for the burdens you have in your heart have already been heard by God.

SONY DSC3. What to Pray (Matthew 6:9-13)
“Pray then like this: ‘Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name.”

-Recognize who God is and where He is. Acknowledge His holiness and mightiness.

“Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

-Long for the establishment of God’s kingdom to be here in how you live and as you live.  There is great peace in heaven, and to long for that here on earth is beautiful!  We should live what we hope should be here.  Make sure that God’s will is always first.  We need to seek Him and His kingdom first.  This is so important!

“Give us this day our daily bread,”

-He knows your needs.  Ask for them to be provided for you.

“and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.”

-We do wrong every day. We need to acknowledge our sin and long for freedom from it.  Because He forgives you of these things, you must also forgive people who have sinned against you, no matter how hard it is. For God doesn’t hold anything against us when we are forgiven, nor should we.

“And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.”

-Pray that you do not have the ability to even be led into temptation that leads to sin.  For when we are tempted, our testing of our faith can come about and we might get trapped and ensnared.  We should not want Satan to have any hold on our lives at all.

4. Important conclusion
“For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” -Matthew 6:14-15

-This is extended from the Lord’s prayer’s explanation a bit.  Can you imagine how powerful forgiveness is here? Jesus saved us from sin and we are called to be like Him. He did not kill those who physically accused Him or killed Him at all but instead forgave them. In living like Jesus and being like Him, we need to definitely do this.  Imagine not being able to be forgiven simply because you held things against others? That’s intense! We should live this out!

yourwillbedoneI struggle so much lately.
With people. With myself.

The most valuable lesson I’ve been learning over the past few months is something I’ve been struggling with like crazy: to focus on my own relationship with Christ & to show love to others, meeting them where they are.

What does this struggle look like?
Jesus loved me and everyone so much that He wanted to prove to us all that He is Truth, that He is God, that He loves us and knows our hearts.  That’s the kicker there: He knows our hearts. I don’t know the hearts of others as He does.

We are told to seek His kingdom first (Matthew 6:33). We can encourage others to do so as well.  We can’t however think that we know better than others or know where they may or may not be growing or stumbling.  We need to think as Jesus did. While He was hanging on the cross to die, and through all that was done to His body beforehand, and the fact that He did no wrong at all, He didn’t look down on us or show anger towards us or hold our sins against us.  Instead He said, “Father forgive them, for they know not what we do.” (Luke 23:34) That’s what we need to have an attitude of.  Forgiveness. Everyone is seeking for answers and they/we don’t know what we do time and time again.

I sometimes wonder where others stand with God. This is not what we are called to do.  I can’t change people’s minds and hearts, only Christ can. I have done wrong in having this attitude and it is being worked on now. Today.  I can show compassion on all and try to help them, but I am not to believe that I know where they are in their faith.  I don’t.  I also don’t have the answers for everything. I can only point to Christ. May they seek Him out and may He transform us all. I am sorry for hurting people with the old mindset I once had, for I truly did not know what I was doing. I want to look at everyone for now on and know that Jesus loves them and that I must also, no matter how difficult it might be. May His will be done here on earth as it is in heaven (Matthew 6:10).

Pray with me:
“Our heavenly Father, I truly know that I am in need of work.  Help me to seek you out. Help me to go to your Word for guidance on my life rather than focusing on the people around me.  Show me how you love others. In your son Jesus’ name, Amen.”

scripture29In reading 1 & 2 Samuel, 1 & 2 Kings, and 1 & 2 Chronicles in the Bible, I see loads of bloodshed.  God warned the people of Israel to not even bother having a king because He was their ruler, but no one listened to Samuel as He spoke in God’s defense. God warned them what kings produce: oppression & bloodshed.  They didn’t care.  God said he’d choose a king for them, but throughout these books we see multiple failures and problems with kings (even the anointed ones).  King David wasn’t even allowed to build a temple for the Lord because he had too much blood on his hands, while Solomon had a complete peaceful reign to bring about the building of the house of the Lord.  Afterwards the bloodshed went on. 

Between Solomon’s rule and Israel’s divide and through the fall of Israel & Judah, there is a span of about 400 years with many kings and loads of wars and murders and deaths.  The high majority were terrible kings.  I have grown quite fond of a king in particular in which God said that there was no king of Judah as great as him to ever reign (2 Kings 18:5).  In 2 Chronicles 28-32 we learn how God helped Hezekiah.  So many people spoke evil things against the king because he was destroying the loads of idols set up, was fixing up the temple doors and bringing restoration to it, he brought back the Passover, and he just served God pretty wholeheartedly.  The king of Assyria threatened him to no end.  The Assyrian king was going to come to destroy him and the people of Judah.  When he was coming up towards Jerusalem, It bothered Hezekiah so much that he got Isaiah to pray with him and they cried out to heaven.  They decided to put their trust in God.  What happened? God sent an angel who destroyed the Assyrian army (32:21).  When the Assyrian king returned home, his own sons killed him.  This helped the people of Jerusalem to fill their hearts with praise to God.

I recently had a one-on-one/face-to-face discussion with a woman who asked me what I’d do if I saw a woman being beaten across the street.  She said how she would totally want to go over and hurt the person hurting the woman rather than letting her die.  When I told her I’d pray first, this woman was upset with me (and didn’t let me finish explaining myself), as if prayer wasn’t a worthy enough act.  Though she believes in Jesus, she basically wanted to put her trust in using her own strength than the strength of our Creator. It truly broke my heart and I let her know later on in person that I feel we need to have more trust in God and more faith in the power of prayer.  Hezekiah saw that there was no hope in an army or in man to get him through.  The only way to defend him was to get together with a prophet of the Lord and pray and cry out to Him.  They had such a leading of the Holy Spirit and a love for God, that God sent just one angel to destroy an entire army.  We need to have such faith to trust that God is the one who will take care of us.

I want to take it a step further. When we think of Jesus, not only did He pray to The Father to help Him, but He put himself in line for us all when He could have easily have wiped out all those who tried to & eventually killed Him.  I was one of those people, though not physically there, but I was one who crucified my Saviour. Instead of destroying me to defend Himself, He died for me.  That woman on the other side of the street should not only have me praying for her, but going in her place to take the abuse she received.  I also need to pray for the person beating her.  That is the beautiful story of Jesus and what He did for us, so we are expected to do the same for others.  We need to put our trust in Him to take care of us all. Jesus is God and returned from the dead.  We must realize that loving other people might have a price, but eternity is so much greater than our own comfort.  I can’t fathom the idea of spreading the gospel of Christ through harming others (because if I were to beat anyone even to save someone, I doubt it would show that I love Jesus. . that person needs Jesus as much as I do in that moment – and if I accidentally kill the person oppressing the other, then I have condemned that person to hell rather than helping give them a chance to transform their lives over to Christ and I have just broken a commandment too).  Vengeance is the Lord’s to repay, so let Him take care of things.  Let us show love to those who hate others and hate us so that they too can possibly have a chance to taste the grace of Christ.

Most people only focus on two of these verses, but I really love the ones surrounding it. Let us savor it together!
“My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.  Let not steadfast love and faithfulness forsake you; bind them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. So you will find favor and good success in the sight of God and man. Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.” -Proverbs 3:1-8

I was taught the pledge of allegiance at the age of 5 as well as the pledge to the Christian flag that sounds similar but is really completely different. . .so which was I supposed to really be standing for?

In that same time frame I was healed by Jesus in a dream of my partial-deafness that caused my speech to replicate what I heard (which was extremely muffled and low-tonal and nothing like what “normal” people hear or sound like).  Therefore, some of the first things I learned to say and was taught to think were the following: To do as the “Romans” (Americans) do while living as Jesus wanted.   Jesus came into my life FIRST, and I should have gone to Him before doing what society had in store for me.

Let’s look back at the Romans of Jesus’ day for a minute.  They were highly regarded with their great Roman pride. Americans highly regard themselves today.  Romans thought they were the best and most blessed people.  Americans tend to have that same mindset.

newtribesmission

I was taught (by those calling themselves Christians) that immigrants were less than me and shouldn’t be in our country, even though my great-grandparents on my dad’s side were from Ireland and France and my great-great-great grandparents came from all over the place on my Mom’s side – all once immigrants.  It seemed as a child that it was okay for Americans to travel wherever they wanted, but God-forbid anyone outside of our nation comes here without knowing English.  They aren’t as worthy.  While The Bible tells me, “You shall not wrong a sojourner or oppress him, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.” -Exodus 22:21

Jesus Himself did not belong to this world! He created it, but came down into it and served others even though He is King! In fact we are told in John 15 that we are not of this world as His children.  Therefore we must show kindness to all people no matter where they come from and accept being hated for being from outside of this world; of God’s kingdom!
 “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.  If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.  Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.  But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.” -John 15:18-21

I grew up in two churches that seemed to be all about missionary work, but when missionaries came to speak about their work, they never seemed like the rest of the people I ever knew.  There was a huge difference between their stories of “the church”, where it seemed that they were living out the teachings of Jesus, and the way I was raised in “the church” (far too comfortable in comparison).  My soul has always eaten up missionary stories and I am so glad to know many who are missionaries today.  When my own uncle and his family were missionaries in Colombia to tell the gospel to unreached tribes, it was so different to me.  It made no sense that they lived outside of everything I was taught.

After my uncle was killed, family members started to complain that my uncle KNEW he was going to die. They felt he betrayed them. They were surprised.  As far as I remembered in reading the Bible, we are to understand that it is definitely possible that you’ll die in the mission field.   Isn’t that how soldiers in the military train too?  People accept the training and death of a worldly soldier but not a godly one?

The question of loyalties and where mine stood, always came at play in my head.  People made a huge deal about my dad being a war veteran (I admit, lately it has been irritating me how often people pump up his being a veteran).  Many consider him a hero.  As a young girl, I compared two different soldiers on a regular basis and their lives.  My dad lived like the world in my own presence. My uncle stood out as someone who was humble and kind and preached the gospel and was beautiful inside that is showed out of his eyes.  My dad had so much anger, never taught me about Jesus by word of mouth or by example, never spent time with me, and had darkness in his eyes.  He was a church go-er, but not a church live-er. When my uncle would come to visit family members, it seemed he would go out of his way to spend time with the children, rather than the adults.  Perhaps he had a hard time around adults who weren’t willing to discuss Christ, but were just set into society.  I am unsure.  He was the acting principal of missionary kids where they were in Bogota (because no one else seemed up for the job), so perhaps it was just his heart was for the youth.

UncleTim

My last memory spent with him was when he came alone without his family visiting my family right before he was kidnapped.  I was probably 9 or 10 and my mom (who was his sister) and dad were excited that they were going to spend time with him alone. Instead, he played basketball with my one older brother and me (my other brother was in college). He talked to me and showed so much love through asking me questions and getting to know me. My own father wouldn’t ever do that.  It blessed me so much.  My dad killed many people in Vietnam.  My uncle’s body showed visible signs of torture from the 17 months he had spent in captivity.  He didn’t kill his captors, but all I think about in the many times I’ve had dreams of my uncle, is him laughing with the men (he was a very funny man) and telling them he (and Jesus) loved them with every painful act done to him.  There have been ex-guerrillas who have come out to proclaim the gospel of Christ, giving up their lives, and many times I wonder if my uncle told them about Jesus. My dad didn’t even get to know his enemies other than where they were stationed so he could shoot them out, while my uncle wanted to get to know his enemies peacefully and love them as himself, so much so that he did not fight when they took him hostage (and he was probably double their height – as he was maybe 6’7″ – yes, really tall).  My dad was upset when I told him I wouldn’t want his medals after he died (he asked me if I’d take them) & I told him to give them to one of my brothers who would probably appreciate them.  My dad (unfortunately) has left no legacy with me yet (I love my dad, just saying how it is).  My uncle left one and I want to live life as he did, which was just doing what Jesus stated (since Jesus is the ULTIMATE hero of heroes with the greatest legacy of all time)!

Family_0004There are no greater heroes than missionaries and than someone who lays their life down for the sake of the gospel of Christ; not one who lays down his life for his country (though I understand that they believe they are doing the greatest duty, and I have known many many many people who have served in the military, or are still currently serving).  God is far greater than country.  God created all people.  We are told to go into all the world to preach to all people and to show love to them (baptizing and discipling them so they can do the same work).  Jesus laid down His life for us when He could have destroyed anyone who tried to touch Him with just a word. He created them and loved them still while they (and we) were brutally murdering Him.  Aren’t we to be willing to do the same as He did for us? His disciples endured it, and considering they KNEW Jesus in person while also having HIS Spirit inside of them, I’d trust that they did the best thing as well.

Why is it that there are far more people (Christians included) in our society to praise and admire and thank soldiers of country and it seems like no one seems to thank the missionaries?  There are loads of people each day signing up to “defend their country”, but how many are signing up to “live and die for Jesus” on the mission field?  I am rewiring my entire love to be for ALL nations and ALL people.  I mourn when I hear of the destruction done to ALL sides in wars.  I will not stand for the murders of people whom we are meant to show the love of Christ to in sharing the gospel to them as servants. Christ came to us, instead of wiping us out.  We are to share our love to our enemies.  We are to show compassion to a people who might seem to not want any part of Christ.  My life has changed because of Jesus.  My trust and life are His.

My husband was telling me the other day something that was so interesting.  If David Wilkerson decided to not go into meet a bunch of gang members from two different gangs and went with knives to defend himself, how much different would his story have been? He went in with nothing but Christ.  He had the powerful weapons of prayer to get him through it. He put his trust in Jesus.  Could they have killed him? Absolutely.  He didn’t go in with guns trying to wipe them out for the crimes they committed, but instead offered the Word of God to people who were lost and “unreachable”. That must have been so difficult to do!  The gospel of Christ is only going to affect the people that you try to get to know while working along side of them to help them.  Murdering people won’t end violence and war,  it just makes more people angrier and wanting to spread more bloodshed. Only Jesus has the power to change others when His words penetrates their souls!

“Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.  If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, ‘Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.’  To the contrary, ‘if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.’  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” -Romans 12:17-21

[Note: My own personal experience with a former soldier in the military doesn't reflect how all soldiers are. I have known some very wonderful soldiers who love their kids and spend much time with them]


[Photo #1 is from New Tribes Mission - which is what my uncle was involved in.  Photo #2 & #3 are of my uncle - the first of him is holding a Colombian child. The second of him is when he visited my family when I was about 7 and dressed as a tribal man from Colombia to explain the work they were doing there]

So I started reading Shane Claiborne and Chris Haw’s book “Jesus for President”. It’s made me very interested in the first 300 years of church history. One piece I found was written as a commentary on the Christians written during either the first or second century. It scares me to think I can not imagine anyone speaking like this of the church as it stands now, yet it’s so obviously how the Bible has instructed us to live. I pray we can come together and get back to a place like this.

“But while they live in both Greek and Barbarian cities, as each one’s lot was cast, and follow the local customs in dress and food and other aspects of life, at the same time they demonstrate the remarkable and admittedly unusual character of their own citizenship.  They live in their own countries, but only as aliens; they participate in everything as citizens, and endure everything as foreigners.  Every foreign country is their fatherland, and every fatherland is foreign.  They marry like everyone else, and have children, but they do not expose their offspring.  They share their food but not their wives.  They are “in the flesh,” but do not live “according to the flesh.”  They live on earth but their citizenship is in heaven.  They obey the established laws; indeed in their private lives they transcend the laws.  They love everyone, and by everyone they are persecuted.  They are unknown, yet they are condemned; they are put to death, yet they are brought to life.  They are poor, yet they make many rich; they are in need of everything, yet they abound in everything.  They are dishonored, yet they are glorified in their dishonor; they are slandered, yet they are vindicated.  They are cursed, yet they bless; they are insulted, yet they offer respect.  When they do good, they are punished as evildoers; when they are punished, they rejoice as though brought to life.  By the Jews they are assaulted as foreigners, and by the Greeks they are persecuted, yet those who hate them are unable to give a reason for their hostility.”

I have to warn anyone reading this up front that this post may be a bit disjointed as there were a lot of thoughts that have been floating in my head about it. I do ask that you PLEASE read the entirety of it, as well I will try not to make this TOO long.

In the limited experiences I’ve had debating pacifism, it seems like a lot of the arguments used toward the just war philosophy are based primarily on Old Testament examples, misquoted or context-avoiding New Testament passages or by using statements made by other men (men being the generic word used when talking about men and women, created persons). My beliefs about pacifism have been with me for a long time, though admittedly they had taken a back seat to my pride as an American citizen for a while. Ultimately I was brought back around to realizing pacifism is where my heart really is thanks mostly to Shane Claiborne’s wonderful book “The Irresistible Revolution”. While his book was a catalyst to my renewed devotion to non-violence he was certainly not the reason for my steadfastness.

While the “W.W.J.D.” question has become something of a cliche about how ridiculously Americanized the church has become, if done without the bracelet and with sincerity and an open mind to be taught, it can cause you to be a huge change in your world.

For the sake of being as legitimately G-d inspired as I can be, I’m going to keep myself to using strictly Biblical sources for my side of this debate.

Now I know some (probably most) have a rather differing opinion of war. I know plenty of people, whose salvation I could not even pretend to doubt, that would consider my wife and I to have “gone off the deep end”. Many of the opinions opposed to ours relate specifically to the ownership of guns and the use of violence against forces of the government that would want to disarm them/impede on their freedoms as American citizens. My question to this is, “Do you really have the right, as a professing Christian, to defend yourself against someone else with violence?” I understand that the ideas of self defense and war in the sense of going over seas to attack another country are very different, but the use of violence in either circumstance is still violence.

In Matthew 5:39 Jesus says:

“But I tell you, don’t stand up against an evil person. If someone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other cheek also.”

That doesn’t sound to me like He’s giving us the right to defend ourselves. He says rather plainly “DO NOT stand up against an evil person”. He doesn’t say, “If someone slaps you on the right cheek, put your hand up to block your left cheek then break their hand so they can’t try again”. We are to turn the other cheek and allow the attacker to strike us again. What right do we have to defend ourselves against a human attacker when Jesus rebuked Peter for attacking the Roman in the garden of Gethsemane? The Savior of the world, the human embodiment of G-d himself would not allow His disciple to defend Him with violence, so how could we possibly claim to have the right to defend ourselves against anyone with violence?

As I said at the beginning of this post, I know there are plenty of Biblically based counter-arguments to my stance, but I’d like to suggest we look at some of the totality of what is usually used. One of the most commonly used verses is in Luke’s version of the night Jesus is arrested…

“He said to them, ‘But now let the one who has a moneybag take it, and likewise a knapsack. And let the one who has no sword sell his cloak and buy one.” -Luke 22:36

Now the strange part about using this verse with the declaration that, “SEE! Jesus tells them to buy a sword!” is that Yeshua doesn’t tell them how or when to use the sword. In fact the only time we hear about the sword being used by the disciples is shortly after this conversation when Peter attacks a Roman soldier with it. Right after Peter attacks the Roman Yeshua stops him and says to him:

“No more of this!” -Luke 22:51

After yelling at Peter for using the sword Christ heals the soldier of the wound that was inflicted! It seems insane to me that the apostles would be told to purchase a sword and then when the first opportunity to use it comes up, they are told not to! Shouldn’t that in itself discredit the referencing of that verse as a reference FOR the use of violence as a means of defending a friend/family member? I know, “Christ had to suffer his death on the cross and that’s why He stopped Peter from defending Him!” While I agree, Christ had to die for us and any other course of history at this second in time would drastically change the story of salvation (there wouldn’t be one), I like to believe Yeshua told the apostles to buy the sword specifically for the purpose of illustrating the idea that He didn’t want them to use it!

The most common way people debate against pacifism in the Christian sense is the idea of “just war”. This philosophy says there are ways that you can justify war when considering what you are getting involved in by holding it up against a set of guidelines and as long as your planned war falls within those, it is a “just” or fair war, and therefore allowable. When I hear people arguing for just war, I hear a lot of Old Testament quotes and other famous people espousing the criteria that makes war just, but these lists aren’t directly based out of Biblical principle or instruction. Unfortunately, most of what I’ve seen discussed as the list of things to check off to judge whether your war truly is “just” are fabricated by men that believe they have come to a logical conclusion based on moral truths and not on something given in scripture.

So to backtrack a little, I believe that G-d’s call for violence in the Old Testament is only justified in the Old Testament because of man’s separation from Him. While G-d did call for Israel to go to war throughout it, the need for man fighting man has been negated by the death of the Son. Yeshua says He did not come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17). Therefore whatever rules were put in place in the OT have been dubbed fulfilled through the blood of Christ! We are no longer bound to serve the punishment as the old law required! Unfortunately plenty of people still refer to the G-d of violence as expressed in the OT as implying necessity for violence today, in effect telling Yeshua they don’t care about what He did. I dare to liken the people who keep this going to the Jews that brought Stephen up on blasphemy charges. As Stephen was preaching the gospel, those in attendance disliked his message that the Old Testament was fulfilled and finalized in the new covenant. His response to their hardened hearts against the gospel was:

“You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.” -Acts 7:51-53

I know that sounds a little harsh, but is it really wrong? How often do we ALL decide not to listen to the Holy Spirit? The day that I confessed to my wife about my secret pornography addiction was spent arguing with the Spirit and trying to find a way out of telling her!

A man named Saul was in attendance at Stephen’s death for preaching these “blasphemies”. Saul actually brags about being there to witness the stoning of Stephen. Through the marvelous grace of G-d, Saul becomes converted through the power of Christ to become Paul who, ironically enough, writes a letter to the church in Corinth saying things very similar to what I can imagine Stephen was saying:

“Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which is being brought to an end, eill not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it…Yes, to this day when Moses is read a veil lies over their hearts. But when one turns to the Lord, the veil is removed.” -2 Corinthians 3:7-10, 15

So the idea of following the words of the Christ over the historical obsession with the OT teachings is nothing new.

One of the most interesting arguments I’ve heard to discredit a pacifist is the idea that a pacifist thinks they are on par with Yeshua by expecting to behave the same way He did at His trial. The argument says something along the lines of, “You devalue what Christ did on the cross be expecting you will do what He did!” Personally this sounds absurd to me. If this were the case, what would be the value in doing anything Christ asked us to? Christ instructed us with how to pray. Just about every follower of Christ knows His prayer by heart. Does repeating that prayer word-for-word as He delivered it devalue what He prayed? Of course not! Not only does the Son tell us to do the things He does, He also tells us we will do GREATER things than Him!

“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father.” -John 14:12

If Yeshua tells us to do the things He did and even greater things, would that not show the argument of trying to be like Him and devaluing His sacrifice to be completely destroyed?

Now the complaint I’ve heard most often against pacifists is this idea that we have a holier-than-thou attitude and we think anyone who has/is/will serve in the armed forces is in the midst of some unforgivable sin and that we look down on these people. I’d just like to say that the idea of pacifism exists to express the complete opposite. For me, the claim to pacifism is a means for me to express how fallen my nature is. It keeps me mindful of the things I still do wrong. Not a single person alive is able to say they have no sin in them. Because of this, no one has any right to judge anyone else as less worthy to approach the throne. Every person that has existed since the death of Yeshua has had the same opportunity to be reconciled to the Father and no living person has the right to say anyone else has lost that.

And lastly, for the sake of wrapping up, I’d like to put out a couple more sections of scripture that can be included in the support of a Biblically pacifist lifestyle:

“Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” -Romans 12:19-20 (While plenty of people know the “vengeance is mine” part of this I very rarely hear people use it in context to the rest of the section which talks about blessing those who persecute you and not repaying evil for evil.)

“Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. But let none of you suffer as a murderer or a thief or an evildoer or as a meddler. Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name. For it is time for judgment to begin at the household of God; and if it begins with us, what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God? And

‘If the righteous is scarcely saved,
    what will become of the ungodly and the sinner?’

Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good.” -1 Peter 4:12-19 (I think this section is just loaded with goodness. We are told to avoid suffering as a murderer or meddler, and that we should willfully suffer as a follower of the Christ. While I’m sure plenty of people stretch it’s meaning to something other than what’s at face value, I like to apply the last verse to trusting G-d with our souls during any kind of suffering.)

While the main debate for or against pacifism is based on whether or not to go to war, there is much more involved. In a statement that will win me plenty of criticism, I’m sure, the modern American evangelical church has been lead dangerously astray from the heart of the gospel. We are to love our enemies, care for the poor, but instead we build our high castles of finances and self-worth. The world is so much bigger than the borders of our country and our decisions about war affect the very people we have been commissioned to spread the gospel to. I’d like to ask, how does war, regardless of how just we make it to be, help us fulfill the great commission? By pre-emptively striking someone with an air-raid, you are effectively sentencing someone to hell instead of reaching out to them with the love of Yeshua that can save them from damnation.

“Now therefore fear the Lord and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the Lord. And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” -Joshua 24:14-15

If there are any questions or points you would like me to clarify, please comment below or email me at RobRakis@optonline.net

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