I was wondering what to write about today, when I just came across an article and comments on Facebook that pretty much decided it for me. The article is here, feel free to read it or not. I am not endorsing it. In fact I almost didn't link it, but figured having the example available would be more useful than not.
Now, what bothers me is not what the article is about. When a government is confronted with an enemy that recognizes nothing but force, then force is necessary. What bugged me about the article was the sense of what I can only describe as glee in the tone of the article. It just did not make sense to me, especially from what (and I am assuming here based on the context of the article), is a writer who considers themselves a Christian.
That is not the part that really got to me though. You see, the article was linked up on Facebook, and had just over 1,000 comments.
The comments...oh my...the comments...
Never have I seen so much seething hatred as in internet comments. The level of it actually took me by surprise. The level of vitriol really, really disturbed me because, just by the law of averages, a large number of those comments had to have come from people who consider themselves Christians.
A representative sample (from what I can tell), copy-pasted directly from the comments:
These demons must be killed ..good job kenya soldiers!!
About freakin time , kill em all , Let GOD sort it out ! rid the world of this terrible plague !
Cant we all just get along??? NOPE..so go meet your false god. Great job Kenya.
Good! Do it again and again and again. I'll send ammo!
These men know what to do to pig haters,now they will feed their bodies to wild hogs Huh?
They love the smell of rotting muslim flesh in the morning.
The hatred and revenge-driven actions endorsed here are sick. God help you all if you think mass murdering is ever ever a good idea.
This makes us just as bad. I don't like the radicals obviously but why would we send them the message of us basically saying "hey we are Christian and you killed other Christians so now we kill you in the name of our religion." Almost hypocritical if you ask me.
they cut off one christian head or anyones head we should be able to kill 1000 muslims
It's about time we start standing up for ourselves.I won't turn the other cheek to evil people!
Like I said, this seems to be a pretty representative example. Actually I threw an extra non-hatey one in there, just to try and even it out just a little. As you can see, though, hatred reigns supreme in the comments.
Now, let me be clear. The Bible does condone governments protecting its citizens in Romans 13. In fact in verse 4 it reads "For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer." All over the Old Testament as well we see examples of God using nations as a whole to punish those who's sin have overflowed and those who do extreme wrong. Evil left on its own destroys all, so it would seem that God made a plan to deal with it before it got a chance to do so.
Furthermore, there is nothing unbiblical about rejoicing at your enemy's defeat. David wrote several psalms about it. In Revelation the saints wait to rejoice at God's triumph over evil. Israel rejoices in the Old Testament when they defeat those who would destroy them. It is OK to be glad that those who would harm you and others can no longer do so.
That being said, there is no excuse for spewing hatred. None.
Do not think this is a small thing. If, as a Christian you are saying these things, consider what it looks like to those outside the church. We have enough problems already with the world claiming that we are nothing but bigoted hate-mongers. Why give them more ammunition? It makes no sense. Furthermore, in Matthew 12:34-36 Jesus Himself says,
"For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. The good person out of his good treasure brings forth good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure brings forth evil. I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned."He also says (if you read the Gospels), to hate no one, to love all, to be kind to your enemies, and to pray for those who persecute and misuse you. Hating and denouncing and putting down and destroying your persecutors is not your job. It is (dare I say it?) the government's, at least according to Paul.
I can already hear the rationalizations now:
"But what if the government doesn't do it?!"
"I didn't really mean it, I was just venting!"
Or perhaps worst of all "I don't agree with that, so I'll just ignore it."
You cannot afford to ignore it.
Do not let your emotions get the better of you. Do not let your political affiliation get the better of you. You must master your reaction to news and events if you are to show yourself as an ambassador of Christ. This is not an option.
Yes, rejoice when your oppressor is destroyed. Give glory to God that He has rescued those who He rescues. But do not, DO NOT, spew hatred and call it rejoicing. When you react, consider your reaction, and whether or not it is a Christ-like one to have. If it is not, you need repentance and forgiveness. If it is, you are one more step toward being like the Christ you claim to follow.
And truly, isn't that what we are all after in the end?
We need a change. And the time is now. Let's start moving there together, and encourage others to do the same.