Greg Boyd has written an excellent post on what does it mean to love our enemies in the midst of the ISIS crisis.
I appreciate how Boyd points out that practicality is not the first or most important factor in this conversation. Being faithful followers of Jesus is of greatest importance. We cannot simply abandon our beliefs because we do not find them practical in a certain situation.
The concern that our beliefs are not practical and therefore not applicable in certain situations says a lot about the greatness of the god we worship. The focus and drive on practicality is usually driven from a belief that god is not able to do anything and if we were really trust him then we are doomed. Sure trust God in life, as long as it makes perfect sense to us. In fact I find in interesting that sometimes we believe we can do more to bring peace and justice to this world with a gun instead of on our knees.
Also I love the way Boyd gives us practical ways of responding at the end of his article. We are to love and pray for the soldiers of ISIS. Praying for the soldiers of ISIS is the greatest and most important things we can do in this crisis.
There are a few things I do not see eye to eye with Boyd on this issue.
First, when Boyd talks about the role of the government he says that as Christians we should allow the government to use the sword to punish evil doers but as Christians we should not use the sword. If use of the sword is wrong, then it is wrong for anyone and everyone. I have a problem with being willing to live in safety and freedom because someone else is willing to do the dirty work. Boyd gives the impression that Christians should not be involved in politics. I disagree. We need to be immensely careful not to unite church and state. But I do not believe that this means a withdrawal from public service.
Second, Boyd leaves absolutely no room for violence. Now I am very close to agreeing with him. However at this point I believe that violence can be used to restrain evil. Violence cannot be used to bring peace. This has been clearly demonstrated throughout history. But police using violence to restrain a killer is the restraining of evil. Certainly there is a very careful line to walk in all of this. And as humans we are so quick to use violence to solve our problems. But I am not fully convinced that the bible calls us to no violence at all.
Third, Boyd never addresses how do we love the victims of ISIS. Life would be way more simple if we only had to love one side or the other. We are called to love everyone. Is the most loving response in this situation really to have our governments do nothing?