I want to be a pacifist…
I have heard the debate time and time again but it’s always been a hard one to get my head around. Pacifist and just war, non-violence and protective or redemptive violence, these are the debates, I have heard them both and really understand both sides.
That last few months it just seems like the conversation has come up an awful lot so I decided to do some more reading. The first book I read was John Howard Yoder’s book (he wrote part and edited the rest) What Would You Do? This book attempts to answer the common question posed to a pacifist, “if a violent person threatened to harm a loved one, what would you do?”
It was a useful book and addressed this question and more in a very helpful way. I would recommend it, especially to someone who is just starting to flirt with the idea of non-violence.
I, for a long time have said that I “lean toward” non-violence, pacifism but it’s always been hard to just say, “YES, I am a pacifist.” It’s just a complicated situation and it’s really hard to know what I would do if someone were coming against me or my family.
But I want to say, I want to be a pacifist.
My hope is that God can move me to this place because I think it’s the way of Jesus. Honestly, how else to you read Jesus’ words, “love your neighbor” or “love your enemies and pray for those who come against you.” I think to often we live in our reality instead of the reality that God wants to bring to come in and through his people, the reality of the Kingdom of God.
I respect people on the other side of this issue, I understand the difficulty in saying you’re a pacifist. So I respect that side of things but for me, as I read the words of Jesus and see what God has done in and through Christ it’s hard for me to justify violence. There are still tons of issues, tons of conversations to be had but here I am, wanting to be a pacifist but knowing I need God’s grace to live as one.
Read the book and let me know what you think. I have a couple more on the list, I’ll let you know.