Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Love: The Greatest Weapon Against Terrorism

If you've ever been jealous of politicians who get to debate their views endlessly on C-Span, you need only do one thing: Post a simple statement on Facebook.

The other day, I posted this status:

The greatest weapon against terrorism is love.

It didn't take long before that status had gotten the attention of someone with whom I've debated more than a healthy amount on the social network regarding politics and principles and platforms. And, although he only asked a simple question, "Care to elaborate on that?", I knew it was asked with the readiness to pounce and debate.

But, I am a writer, and what writers do is write. And so I wrote a rather lengthy response to his question.  And he has yet to respond to this essay I wrote.

And, since I believe our writing is meant to be shared, I decided to post my elaboration on the statement here.

First, to clear any misconceptions, I’m not saying that Love is the ONLY weapon against terrorism. Hugs wouldn’t have stopped the terrorists in London, for instance, nor would a kind word keep suicide bombers at bay.

But the individual attacks of terrorists are symptoms of the problem, not the problem itself.

The motivation of terrorism is hatred and the goal of terrorism is fear. If we react to terrorism with the motivation of hatred and the goal of vengeance, we’re merely continuing the problem. In fact, unbeknownst to ourselves, we’re actually entering into a relationship of reciprocity that BENEFITS the terrorists by generating more hatred from which they can fuel further attacks.

But there is a better way.

Leave vengeance in God’s hands and, instead, follow the gentle, albeit counterintuitive, voice of scripture.

We utilize the wisdom of Proverbs 25:21-22: “If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink; For you will heap burning coals on his head, And the Lord will reward you.”

We embrace the teaching of Jesus in Luke 6: “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you ... Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”

We echo the voice of Paul in Romans when he told us to “not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” and Peter when he said to “not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.”

And we have the promise of John’s letter that “perfect love drives out fear.”

With love, the entire goal of the terrorists is thwarted.

It doesn’t make sense to us, emotionally.
We want to strike back.
We want to feel secure and strong and like we can take care of ourselves.

But that is, at its very core, our problem. We want to believe a lie. We want to believe that our strength and our wisdom and our efforts can provide for us and protect us. But they can’t. Only God, the God who is love, can do those things for us. And when we surrender to Him and allow Him to be our defense and our mighty warrior, when we instead act in love and hope, that’s when we see a reward that’s bigger than even the goal of destroying terrorism. We’ve built His kingdom. A kingdom that is safe and secure from all harm.

Hence, Love is the greatest weapon WE CAN USE against Terrorism.

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