Monday, September 29, 2008

9-11-- An Application of Two Kingdom Theology

The following was written on 9-11-01, just two hours after the attack on the twin towers.

"I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth." I Timothy 2:1-4

1. Pray for the victims.
Let us pray for those who have been devastated by this tragedy. Pray for the widows, orphans and husbands of those who have recently died. Pray for those in the hospital, that the Lord might heal them. Pray for those who are questioning why God would allow such a thing to happen, that the Lord might give them strength.

2. Recognize that it is not evil for the government to have some kind of retaliation.
It is normal for the U.S. government to want to retaliate when there has been such a horrible injustice done. They are operating under the principles given to Noah. “Whoever sheds man's blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man.”—Genesis 9:6. Even so, governments today act under the same principles and so they are rightly to be feared by those who do evil. “But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.”—Romans 13:4.

3. Hate no race or religion.
There is no cause for anyone to hate a people, race, religion or country because of what happened. This was the act of a small group of murderers, not of a whole people or religion.
If it was Iraq, for example, it was not the people of Iraq, who are innocently trying to live their own lives of desperation.

If it was a group of fundamentalist Muslims that perpetrated the act, it does not represent Islam as a whole. The far majority of Muslims are people trying to overcome sin in their lives by worshipping God—they do not hate Americans, nor would they support a horrible action such as this.

It is possible that it was a group of fundamentalist “Christians” who is declaring war against the world financial market and the U.S. military. If it is so, do we reject Christianity? Do we declare all Christians to be hate-mongers, and reject those who adhere to it? Of course not. Even so, there is no cause for anyone to hate another people, another religion because of what a few insane people did.

4. Followers of Jesus do not take part in retaliation.
Although the U.S. government will retaliate in some way against the group that did this, that does not mean that Christians need to support or take part in retaliation. Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:43-44. Paul said, “Do not return evil for evil, but good.” This is the basic teaching of Scripture. That when people do evil against us, we are to return good to them. Even so, we should not pursue or participate in any way the retaliation that will certainly come. Let us reject the hatred that may come over us, asking for God’s strength to love those who have done such evil. Let us also reject the hatred that comes from others, looking for our support. May the Lord give us grace to gently rebuke those who, in their grief, are looking for scapegoats.

5. Pray for your enemies.
In response to those who have perpetrated this evil, let us follow what Scripture says, “Bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.” Pray for these evil people, that the Lord would cause them to repent and so that they may be saved. Pray that the Lord would work his grace among these people, and draw them to himself. Pray that they may see the faces of the dead and dying; the faces of the orphans, widows and husbands left behind and “weep and mourn and grieve” because of their sin.

6. Love those who hate you.
Also, let us encourage others to love these who are hated so. Let us ask the question, “What is the best thing for these who have performed such evil?” First of all, the best thing would be for them to repent and believe in Jesus, who taught the way of peace and reconciliation through sacrifice, not war, hatred and death. Secondly, it is best for these to be brought to trial and put in prison, both for their own safety and so that they do not commit any more crimes like this. God desires that everyone be saved, even people who commit terribly evil acts (II Peter 3:9).

7. Pray for peace for all.
Also, as believers, we are to pray for those in the government, in order that we might live peaceful and quiet lives. Not only for us, but also for the innocent who surround the ones who committed such a deed. For every murderer, there is a wife or a mother or a friend who had nothing to do with the evil deed. But if the government goes in without regard to the innocent, then this tragedy will be increased. Pray for those who are involved in responding to this tragedy, that they might hurt no one, but be able to pursue the justice of this world with wisdom and love for all, pursuing peace.

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