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I am reading a book by Keith Giles, “Jesus Unarmed: How The Prince of Peace Disarms Our Violence.” The description of the book reads: For too long, those who carry the name “Christian” have ignored the Christlike path of enemy-love and creative nonviolence. For many of us, the Second Amendment has become more important than the Sermon on the Mount. It’s time we begin to walk the path of peace marked out for us by the Prince of Peace and learn to study war no more.
I have actually read the book more than once. I am a fan. I have been a fan of nonviolence for years; in fact, most of my life. There was of course some fear mixed in there, especially when I was younger. In the past 4 or 5 years, however, I have adopted a nonviolent belief and life; a philosophy if you will, and it is because of Jesus.
Many people would say that to cause change in this world you have to fight, that violence is necessary sometimes. Many “Christians” believe in the need to have a gun for protection and that violence is sometimes necessary to advance good in the world. I say BULL SHIT!
Our God is a nonviolent God. When Jesus came, it was to show us what God is really like. At no point did Jesus instruct his disciples to take up arms to revolt against the Romans or anyone else. Initially, this is what his followers expected their messiah to do. He instead told them to love their enemies and pray for them. Jesus showed that God was nonviolent when He allowed us to beat the crap out of him; when He allowed false charges against himself in an illegal court proceeding; when he allowed His own death on a Roman cross. However, He was justified when the Father raised him from the dead; when his predictions about Jerusalem’s destruction played out; when the temple was destroyed. These events are what he was trying to warn them against while he was with them. He was trying to show them a peaceful way to deal with their “enemies.”
Gandhi used peaceful protest to bring change. Desmond Tutu used peaceful protest to affect change. Martin Luther King Jr. used peaceful protest and demonstration to bring about change. All of these men used nonviolent means to bring change to the world. There are many others who have followed the nonviolent path of Christ. It is his way and it should be our way.
Violence has not worked to bring peace to the world. For thousands of years, we have used it, and for thousands of years, it has failed us. We are slow to learn. However, the effect and influence of the few nonviolent leaders have caused lasting change.
Gandhi’s nonviolent resistance helped to end British rule in India. Desmond Tutu’s nonviolent activism landed him in prison for several years but eventually helped to end apartheid in South Africa. Martin Luther King Junior’s leadership and subsequent death moved African Americans forward in the civil rights movement. All of these men’s actions lead to positive changes in the world that have lasted using the way of the Lord Jesus.
I do not believe we will ever have real peace in the world until we who follow Christ, or claim that we do, begin to follow the actual teachings of the Lord who instructs us to love and pray for our “enemies.” When we finally do, real change can begin. Instead, in the here and now, “preachers” across the United States are too involved in politics instead of showing love to the world they are supposed to be reaching for Christ.
I would be in despair if I didn’t know that our God and His ways will not fail. One day this will be the world that it was intended to be. The problem is us, mankind. We are slow to learn. If you look back through history at where we have come from and how far, we have made strides in becoming a better world. However, the greatest changes have come from the enlightenment of the Lord in our hearts. When we choose love and peaceful ways of dealing with one another, that is when we move forward the farthest and the fasted and with the most lasting change.
You should check out the book by Keith Giles. It is a good one; Jesus Unarmed: How The Prince of Peace Disarms Our Violence.
PS, please forgive my title.