Building Peace, not War

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“What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have, so you kill. You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.” (James 4:1-3

This is the reason we fight? It isn’t because we are better than others. It isn’t because of our religions. It is because of our interest. No one kills another person for God. God started his eternal kingdom in Christ without killing one person.

Here is the basis of war. It is for economic advantage. And what is the underlying issue in war? It is because one group is underserviced and left poor and this group eventually wants to fight its way out. So, the basis of war is greed, that keeps our communities divided against each other, one in strength and the other in weakness.

So, can war end? Yes, but not by having a great war to end it. Rather it can end, or at least we can make great progress in ending war, by serving the welfare of us all, regardless of our nation or background.

And to achieve this, we must forget the stories that divide us, that keep us apart, that allow us to indulge in the sacrificing of each other for peace and realise that peace comes through the service of each other. This service is Christian sacrifice, not shedding the blood of others.

It is refusing to allow our differences to stop us serving others. Is this a compromise of our faith? No, it is rather the affirmation of our faith. It affirms our faith in Christ, by keeping his commandment to love our neighbour. It affirms God’s creational value in the humanity of other people. Affirming these demonstrates our faith. Affirming these is evangelical. We have looked for the evangelicalism of dogma, but we have often neglected the evangelism of living. This is the evangelism James affirms, the faith that is shown by works.

“But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.” Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.” (James 2:18)

We talk about our faith, but what about the person who has the works of Christ, while we have the faith without those works? Which one has faith? How can we be their judges?

Ending war is largely a commercial decision, just like slavery was. It’s a decision not to treat people by our commercial necessities, either in arms manufacturing, or in controlling global markets, but to treat people as above our financial interests, as made in the image of God. If this becomes our most important ethic, we are on the road to change.

Lately we have heard about the possibility of Russian interference in the elections of the USA. I don’t know whether that is the case or not. But we do know that the armaments industry already influences American elections far more highly. And many other industries influence the elections with large sums of money. And there are many other lobby groups that determine the outcome of elections, often based on the interest of another nation over other people.

We cannot get to peace this way. Our democracies must be for the people, not for the industry. They must be for serving all the people, especially the voiceless, not the corporations, or the powerful lobby nations. The purpose of our democracies is to represent all the people, to merge us into one civil family in our nations, caring for the interest of each other. We are not one faith family. But if we follow Christ, we are his and we are showing him by our love for our neighbour and this is glorifying him and building his kingdom. Racial interests cannot take over, but the interests of how to include and build up those left behind. This is the biblical way of building peace.

“The fruit of justice shall be peace, and quietness forever.” Isaiah said this to Israel when calling them to help the refugee, even their enemy refugee from Esau. They refused and fled instead to their fortresses. This further impoverished the land and led to their certain destruction. God’s way of government is clear, and as Jesus refused the powers of this world, that satan offered him, to build his kingdom, so too must we. The way we build is by restoring relationships that restore people. This is following Christ.

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