Where on earth did we get the idea that our purpose on this earth is to be happy? Who told us that we should be good and kind to others if we want to go to Heaven? Have you ever entertained the idea that all sin, yes, big and little sins alike, is horrific? When Adam and Eve chose to turn from the One True God to Satan and his promise that we all can become as God. At that point in time, humankind sinned, and from that moment forward, all humans have experienced a world of suffering, chaos, murdering, lying, rubble, thorns, and death. We all have sinned, making the human heart deceitfully wicked. We cheat, lie and live for ourselves. We want to fight and sometimes murder those who are different from us. We have destroyed millions of unborn babies out of the inconvenience of being pregnant and having a child.
“None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together, they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one. Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive. The venom of asps is under their lips. Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; in their paths are ruin and misery, and the way of peace they have not known.“There is no fear of God before their eyes” (Romans 3:10-16).
Wars instigated by prideful, greedy, and evil people, are responsible for much human suffering. Most of those who have fought in wars have experienced killing or wounding other human beings. Witnessing such atrocities has caused soldiers mental and emotional trauma the rest of their lives.
Can we ever justify wars? Exodus 20:13 says, “you shall not kill.” Does that mean that all wars are ungodly. No, it does not. The Hebrew word for war literally means “the intentional, premeditated killing of another person with malice; murder.” When someone ends the life of another intentionally for a personal gain or vengeance, by law they are charged and punished for murder. God will also punish anyone who is a murderer.
“You shall not murder” (Exodus 20:13).
“Have nothing to do with a false charge and do not put an innocent or honest person to death, for I will not acquit the guilty” (Exodus 23:7).
“You have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘You shall not murder, and anyone who murders will be subject to judgment” (Matthew 5:21).
Sometimes God uses war, the killing of people, as the only way to keep evil people from murdering others. God often ordered the Israelites to go to war with other nations. It was always with the purpose to protect and to bring glory to Himself so that even enemies would see His power and turn to worship the One True God. As humans, we have finite minds that cannot begin to understand the plans of God. God knows all and is always in complete control. We also know that all God does is good and just. He makes no mistakes. Just because we don’t understand why God does what He does, does not make it wrong.
“Now go and strike Amalek and devote to destruction all that they have. Do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, child and infant, ox and sheep, camel and donkey’ ” (1 Samuel 15:3).
“Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had arrogance, abundant food and careless ease, but she did not help the poor and needy. Thus they were haughty and committed abominations before Me. Therefore I removed them when I saw it” (Ezekiel 16:49-50).
God is not against killing in all circumstances. God is against murder and orders the death penalty for numerous crimes. The hope is that people will understand that God and the law will punish anyone who murders another.
“Whoever strikes a man so that he dies shall be put to death” (Exodus. 21:12).
“Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord” (Romans 12:19).
How then are we, as Christians, to respond to war? We are to pray individually, with family, and our churches that God’s will be done. Pray for wisdom for our country leaders, our military commanders, especially those making the decisions to send our country into war. We are not to retreat, but rather continue to be about what God has called all of us to do.
“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:1-5).