You can call me a wannabe pacifist.
The Bible is clear...
Just kidding. I won't do that to you, I promise.
But I do find Jesus' instructions to "do good to those who hate you, bless those who persecute you" pretty compelling.
So compelling, in fact, that I can't escape the beautiful thought that good in the face of evil could transform, could even save, the world. What would happen if we were brave enough to do good, not just "understandable?"
Ah. Oh. Right.
That's the lock in my pacifism, I think.
Because if someone was actively hurting my family or friends, I would certainly be furious. And honestly, I very well might respond violently in defense of those I love.
Sorry. But it's true. And, in short, that's why I am a "wannabe" pacifist.
I also fear much modern-day Christianized pacifism frequently comes from a place of privilege. For instance, it's easy to say submit to authorities when you've never been abused. It's easy to say "no war!" when thousands of your friends aren't being slaughtered for having a different religion or a different color of skin.
I'm not saying you don't care about the abused or the murdered - but it is always different when people have names, faces, that are known to you. There's more feelings involved, whether that makes it right or wrong.
And what of the extreme cases, like World War II, what then? Maybe pacifism, civil disobedience, would have stopped the Nazis in their infant stages (I'm not a historian so don't quote me on that). But, by, say, 1941, was there really another option besides fighting?
I mean, besides everyone rising up and saying "we have decided not to be afraid." Which would be cool, but how realistic is it when someone is pointing a gun at your family?
Let me be clear.
What is good?
Not war. Not violence.
Ending violence is good. By non-violent means. Because in our many thousands of years of human civilization, violence has not brought peace.
Pacifism is good.
Still, I guess what I want from current pacifists is more grace and understanding. Jesus was about grace, was he not?
So those who join the army? Maybe they're joining because they want to help something larger than themselves. Maybe the people who support war do so because they genuinely think it's the best way to help others.
Now, history is proof that violence doesn't solve anything. Keep spreading that message, sure.
But please don't draw dichotomies that say you can't be a Christian and be in the army, or support wars. Please.
Instead, please, keep your idealism and keep suggesting and implementing ideas for justice. Keep challenging us towards pacifism.
The more cynical of us, we need you.