loving your enemies in a time of war

Written by Mark Van Steenwyk : April 12, 2007

From Geez Magazine:

“I realized I had to figure out what it meant to me to be a soldier,” he says. “How do I act in my particular job and still follow the great commandment to love your neighbor as yourself? Ya know, how can I do that when I’m asked to basically lay waste to kinda large scale areas?”

For Laituri – who punctuates conversation with Bible verses (and concerned rants about the sins of nationalistic ego) – the good book is the source of “absolute truth.” So when it says love your enemies, he says he “can’t kill someone in love.”

As his infantry company started gearing up for a return to Iraq, Lairturi was busy asking people about faith, war and the decisions he faced. In response, he got a lot of Just War theory, and rationalization for the the necessity of violence. People told him it was morally wrong to do nothing about the nation’s enemies. A certain commander, who is also a Baptist preacher, assured Laituri that since he was a Christian, Jesus had died for all his sins, and therefore he was already forgiven for whatever he would do on the battlefield…

Read the rest of the story here.

What if every American soldier in Iraq were to convert to Christianity (as this man did) and conclude that “loving his enemies” meant he couldn’t kill them? What would happen if all those soldiers put aside their weapons and attempted to show love? What if Christians everywhere were so naive…so idiotic as to put aside violence and attempt to go throughout the world–to the most violent of places–and lay down their lives with the oppressed and harrassed? 

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2 Responses to “loving your enemies in a time of war”

  1. Anna on April 13th, 2007 9:27 am

    Mark, thanks for sharing this story. Check out what Joe said at The Evangelical Outpost this morning about this subject. Made my skin crawl.

    I couldn’t help but pounce on this one.

  2. dlw on April 13th, 2007 4:24 pm

    What if we called on our president to call for a nat’l week of fasting and mourning over what we have wrought in Iraq and the Iraqi people seeing this decided to try and work out their conflicts nonviolently?

    Then, our presence there wouldn’t be needed.

    The bottom-line issue wrt Iraq isn’t Xtn participation in the professional wielding of the sword of the state, but rather our leaders misplaced faith in state-based violence as the means to change our world. We need to call on our leaders to put more faith in the import of showing serious sincere remorse over our owns sins and trageides and praying/hoping for a changing of hearts in the middle East, as a result.


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