Church silence promotes violence to humans, to animals, to our
environment, to our economy, to our education, to our finances, and to our health.
By: Mary T. and Frank L. Hoffman
On 11 September 2001, the United States suffered a tremendous loss from a coordinated terrorist attack. More than five thousand people lost their lives in the crash of four commercial airplanes: two into the World Trade Center, one into The Pentagon, and one into a field in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. As we reach out in prayer and comfort to the injured and to families and friends of the victims of these evil acts, let us also reach out with a repentant heart for what we have done that led up to this tragedy. We're not saying that we're totally responsible, but neither are we innocent by-standers.
Based upon the early investigations, the mastermind behind this attack was Osama Bin Laden and the terrorist organizations he heads and sponsors. Years ago when Bin Laden was fighting the Russians in Afghanistan, the United States supported him. He didn't only just become evil, that was his nature then, too. Our fear and hatred of Communism was seen as a greater threat than the evil of an Osama Bin Laden; thus, we supported one evil against another, and for the most part, the Church was strangely silent.
After the U. S. Embassy in Iran was captured, we placed Iran on our "hate list", and supported Saddam Hussein in Iraq's war against Iran. We seemed to forget that the Bible teaches us:
"But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you." (Luke 6:27-28)
"But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful." (Luke 6:35-36)
For we know Him who said, "Vengeance is Mine, I will repay." And again, "The Lord will judge His people." It is a terrifying thing to fall into the hands of the living God. (Hebrews 10:30-31)
In the process of supporting Iraq, we helped build up the military strength of Iraq under the evil dictatorial direction of Hussein, who used his newfound power to attack Kuwait. We knew Saddam Hussein was evil when we first began to support him, but our desire for revenge against Iran was of more importance. We didn't seem to want to remember that Jesus tells us, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God." (Matthew 5:9). So again, most churches kept silent!
Then in order to counter the evil that we had helped put in place, we and our allies began a retaliatory war against Iraq. This required our presence in Saudi Arabia. This presence turned the wrath of Osama Bin Laden against the United States, because Bin Laden considered our presence as contaminating Islamic holy ground, and a series of terrorist attacks began against the United States and its citizens. The hand that had supported evil was now being bitten.
A few in the churches spoke out against the war with Iraq, but very few spoke out against our support of evil. For the most part, the churches supported what we were doing. In God's realm there is no place for evil, and as God's ambassadors, we are to support that position through peaceful means. Jesus tells us, "Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect." (Matthew 5:48) We followed the popular route rather than the perfect one.
In recent days, we have heard our government leaders once again speak of war in retaliation for this recent terrorism. These leaders have even suggested that we again "hire" evil people (as informants, for example) to help us fight against the "greater" evil. The cycle continues! Righteousness should stand against evil, but evil only produces more evil and violence only produces more violence, as we should very well know; but we seem to be closing our ears and eyes to what is going on. And even the Church is acting ungodly. Many of our church leaders are supporting the Government's policy, even though we know that Jesus called upon us to be the peacemakers of this world (Matthew 5:9).
Perhaps we need to remember what happened when Jesus was taken prisoner:
And behold, one of those who were with Jesus reached and drew out his sword, and struck the slave of the high priest, and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, "Put your sword back into its place; for all those who take up the sword shall perish by the sword." (Matthew 26:51-52)
And we are told that Jesus even restored the ear of the slave of the high priest (Luke 22:51).
It's time for us to open our eyes and ears to what is going on around us, and begin to see the truth of God's Word and speak out against all evil as God's true peacemakers.
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