Today, we have a number of leaders in the body of Christ who are known for their fierce stance for pacifism. Every other Tweet and Facebook update is a sharp outcry against the military, national violence, global violence, weapons, and war. These leaders (rightly I might add) expose nationalism as an idol (something I did in spades in Insurgence: Reclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom just as I did with globalism).
But there’s a problem. A big one. Let me use an illustration to bring it into bold relief.
Anson Bench is someone who has a large Twitter following. Every day, he rips into politicians who degrade, demean, embarrass, and insult other public figures.
Anson’s Twitter followers love his daily diatribes against these politicians who level insults at others.
But Anson is also a Little League coach. And so are several of his friends.
Interestingly, Anson and his fellow coaches regularly degrade, demean, embarrass and insult the players they are coaching whenever they make a mistake on the ball field.
Now you may be thinking that Anson is a hypocrite. Perhaps.
But the larger issue is that Anson is passionate about condemning abusive behavior in a sphere that he will probably never influence (national/international politics) when he himself is acting abusively toward people he actually knows.
You may want to read that last sentence again.
What’s the problem with pacifism today? The problem is that countless pacifists will constantly decry the evils of war, the military, national and international violence while at the same time acting violently on their social media feeds and blogs when people disagree with their viewpoints!
Such people do not know the spirit of the Lamb – the One who didn’t retaliate when attacked, who didn’t hurl insults when insulted, who didn’t defend Himself when misunderstood and maligned.
Yet numerous “pacifists” today will return fire upon those who criticize them, they’ll retaliate against those who attack them, and they’ll defend themselves without blinking.
SUCH PEOPLE ARE NOT REALLY PACIFISTS DESPITE THE RHETORIC.
God hates violence. But He hates it in all forms and arenas, not just in the arena of national policy.
Consequently, turning the other cheek doesn’t just apply when someone is sticking a gun in your face (which has never happened to most pacifists). It more often applies when someone criticizes or attacks you online.
And therein lies the rub.
In this regard, I wish every Christian leader who Tweets a stream of consciousness against the ills of national violence would begin using their social media influence to explain what it means to bear the spirit of the Lamb, to lose, to bear the cross, and to lay one’s life down – on the ground and in one’s social media engagements. Not just in the far-off arena of national politics.
You can bemoan the military all day long, but that’s not going to remove the military. But you can do something about how your followers treat other believers on blogs and social media.
That’s the great need today. And that’s where pacifism hits home.
Those who have joined the Insurgence stand for peace at all times, with all people, and in all places.
Selective pacifism is no pacifism at all.
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