Like you, I was shocked this week by the words of State Department Marie Harf when commenting on her solution (or can we call it an anti-solution?) to ISIS during her initial interview with Chris Matthews that “we can’t win this war by killing them.” Her solution? Give them jobs… never-mind the fact that many Jihadists are some of the wealthiest people in the world. Well, I have to practice great restraint to avoid getting tied up in a political debate on that, and the truth is, her initial statement was not what motivated me to write. We’re not here to talk about political agendas. If we were, we’d all be trying to land a job at Breitbart, or maybe Fox News if well… let’s just leave it at maybe.
But what alarmed me was not so much her initial statement. As far as I’m concerned, that’s just par for the course. What alarmed me though, was her “clarification” a few days later on CNN. She noted that war isn’t the solution to destroying terrorism. We have to go after the “root cause.” Now, I agree with that. Wholeheartedly. But where we vehemently differ is the identification of the root cause. For Harf, it’s socioeconomic – hence the need for creating jobs, improving standards of living, etc. In her own words, I suppose her strategy is “too nuanced” for me to understand, but I’m not one to be miffed much by ad hominems, so I really don’t care about that either. Her confidence is only a blatant reminder to me why I lack confidence in the governments of our world. It’s a reminder to me that they don’t have the solutions to the world’s problems. In fact, they suppress the ONLY solution.
It’s true, God has assigned the suppression of evil to the world’s governments (“If you do what is evil, be afraid.” – Rom. 13:1-4), but that does not mean that the world will be successful in their suppression of evil! μη γενοιτο! And that is the fundamental, and vast difference between what I propose as the solution to ISIS/ISIL, and what Harf proposes.
Harf believes that the solution for ISIS is economical. Her solution is to advance a man-made kingdom. I believe the solution for ISIS is the Gospel. My solution, or really – it’s not mine, but GOD’S solution is the eternal solution. AKA – the solution is GOD!
That’s nothing new to us. We know it to be true but Harf’s comments brought that reality to my remembrance. The world will always be looking for solutions in the world. They are, as it were, the blind leading the blind and they will both fall into the pit (Matt. 15:14; Lk. 6:39). How then is that a solution to ISIS?
Peace will never exist as long as human depravity exists.
As the prophet Jeremiah said, The heart is more deceitful than all else and desperately sick. The interesting thing about the word “sick” is that it can also be translated as “disastrous,” or “incurable.” In fact, one fragment from the Qumran collection of the Dead Sea Scrolls uses the same word to describe the “incurable pain” of the viper’s venom that spreads through the extremities (1QH v:28).
Needless to say, the heart is wicked, and as long as the heart is wicked, there will continue to be wickedness in this world.
So if you want a solution for ISIS, you gotta deal with the root of the problem – and it’s the human heart. The heart of stone must be transformed into a heart of flesh. Every other solution will fail – whether it be war, economic stimulation, or whatever.
But here’s the convicting thing… we hear all the politicos speak boldly and confidently to advance their agendas and promote their “solutions.” We even get wound up and frustrated when the talking television gurus (By the way, did you know that “guru” refers to a Hindu or Buddhist teacher!? I just found that out!) go on smugly about their “right” solution when we know their proposal will be disastrous. Yet we have the right solution, and we are more prone to criticize a bad solution – thinking that’s consistent with a depraved mind (Should we expect anything more?), than we are to offer the right solution!
You guessed it… I’m talking about evangelism! And my question is this, “Are we more prone to criticize the spiritually discerned thinking of the spiritually discerned, than we are prone to share the gospel?”
In Mark 12, a scribe approached Jesus with the ultimate “I’ve got you stumped” kind of question. “What is the foremost commandment” (Mk. 12:28)? Jesus answered in the most profound way – with the Shema – something every single Jew would have been intimately familiar with (cf. Dt. 6:4-8). “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.” And then, Jesus goes on to say, “The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as you love yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.“
The reason is because they are inseparably equated with one another, but you can’t claim to love God if you don’t love your neighbor. Your neighbor (as does all humanity) bears the very image of God. So how can you say you love God if you don’t love your neighbor? And what is the greatest expression of love toward your neighbor? It is to share the Gospel, and doing so shows our love for God. So, if we’re not sharing the gospel (hide it under a bushel, no!), but are more prone to criticize – we have a problem.
I think we all agree – it is to give them to eternal solution – the real solution – the only solution, not just for ISIS, but the solution for their own depraved heart. That’s the needed solution for ISIS, and that’s the needed solution for everyone.
We say, “Maranatha! Lord come!” It will be on that day that terrorism and bloodshed will be destroyed and the world will be judged.
Jesus will come on a white horse and He will be called, “Faithful and True.” His eyes will be flaming fire and His robe will be drenched in blood from the sharp sword that comes out of His mouth to sleigh the nations – to subject them and rule them with a rod of Iron (Rev. 19:11-16). Christ will then defeat Satan and cast him into the abyss for 1000 years. After that, Satan will be released, only to be finally destroyed and thrown into the Lake of Fire will all those who were not found in the book of life.
Then, FINALLY, there will be peace on earth:
And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away” (Rev. 21:3-4).