A lot of media attention directed toward the Middle East. Stories and coverage of ISIS, Syria, Israel, Iran, and Iraq fill the headlines and social media. Every presidential candidate has a view and advocates his or her distinct policies for the region. Everyone has an opinion. Every opposing view is stupid. This is the only consensus in the discussion. Yet among the discussion has grown a troublesome rhetoric from Christians, “We need to nuke ISIS.” “We need to nuke Iran.” “Israel should nuke ’em all.” Let me be clear. God is not on board. I’m sure everyone who says this has rationalized the rhetoric, but it was not derived from Scripture. In fact, it’s diametrically opposed to Scripture. Killing our enemies opposes God’s will.
Did I ruffle your feathers? I hope so. I used to think like this. “‘Murica rules, demolish our enemies.” But then I was confronted by our Savior.
Now, usually in this discussion, the rebuttal comes, “Oh, you’re saying we should just bow down and let people run over us?” Let’s get this out of the way now. No, I’m not saying this, don’t over-react. I’m not saying if Mexico decides to invade, we should lower our arms and let them have the country (although I’m willing to give them Western Kansas (joke)).
I am saying, as Christians, our number one goal and desire is the salvation of our enemies. Before asking to nuke ISIS, we should be praying for them, begging God for them to hear the Gospel and be saved. Every ISIS member has to stand before Christ. How awesome would it be for them to stand before Him as our brother in Christ — a fellow enemy, like me, reconciled to Him. How amazing to think a terrorist, who kills people, can have his heinous sins forgiven! (How ashamed am I to think my sins aren’t as bad as his?) Jesus died for his precious enemies. He loved them. Would it be right for us to view ISIS as precious people who could be saved?
First, consider God’s desire: to make enemies His friends. “For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life” (Romans 5:10). We were once enemies too. At one point we were hostile to God, enemies, rebellious in our transgressions, and not willing to honor Him. God, perfectly just and righteous could do like most normal kings and kill traitors. Instead, our God put His Son on the cross to die in our place so that we can be forgiven, justified, set apart, and given a seat in heaven. Not only are we saved, we are made His friends and become a part of His family, united to Him (Gal 2:20; 4:1-7). God saves His enemies.
As Jesus traveled to Jerusalem, he sent messengers ahead of him to a Samaritan village. The village rejected him. “When His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” (Luke 9:54). I mean, if you’re going to reject Jesus, the ultimate righteous one, worthy of our worship, then it only seems natural we should nuke them, right? Jesus, “He turned and rebuked them” (Luke 9:55). Why?
Because we pray for our enemies (Matt 5:44) and seek to make them disciples (Matt 28:19).
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (Matt 5:9). Which one sounds more like making peace? Nuking enemies or giving them the Gospel? What did Jesus do? Did He nuke them or die on the cross for them? We’re to “go into all the nations to make disciples” (Matt 28:19). When Jesus said, “all the nations” it seems most logical to conclude that all even includes the ones we disagree with, the ones that conduct evil, and the ones that oppose us. All means “all.” It remains rather difficult to make disciples of people killed in a bomb blast.
But they’re terrorist opposed to the Gospel; advocating false religion. They are hostile to and killing Christians. True. Good point. So what’s your counter-argument blogger-boy? 😉 Saul of Tarsus, the apostle Paul was a terrorist. He killed Christians and sought them out. God saved him and used him to advocate the Gospel. Paul, “he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name’s sake” (Acts 9:15-16). the former terrorist is now the beloved Apostle Paul who is not ashamed of the Gospel (Rom 1:16).
Had we nuked him, we’d be without Romans through Hebrews in our Bible.
We are about the Gospel of Jesus Christ. I think it would be better for us if we decided to pray for our enemies and seek their salvation. We, who believe, received the same love benefiting because some believer had a gospel-centered mindset giving us the gospel rather than view us an enemy and turn his back on us. The church exists because men take seriously the call to make disciples and proclaim the Gospel, even among their enemies.