All countries are formed by violence but how should violence shape the church?
Every nation is born either by conquering weaker people or by being driven to a new land because of war. Migrations sometimes occur because of natural disasters or economic benefits but even then, it would be an anomaly to find a nation that was not significantly influenced in its governance and philosophy by violence. At a minimum, nations create boundaries around their land. Their territories are structured around legal violence (like police and military) and illegal violence (like armed robbery and insurgents). This unspoken influence of violence is something we need to be aware of.
The long term goal of God is for peace and not for violence. As the church, we should make sure we stay aligned with the big picture goals of heaven — working as peacemakers not war-bringers.
Jesus’ kingdom is not territorial. It is a kingdom without boundaries. In the non profit space our NPO, INfire, has tried to build from a model that isn’t focused on growing the largest organization. We partner with local leaders to build up their work where we find alignment. We invite other NPO’s/NGO’s to partner in spaces we open up.
The church is frequently territorial, ashamedly so. Our calling should be setting our boundaries, not our capacity for more territory. We often look like the nations who rage in Psalms 2, fighting over turf. We need to be very careful to keep a wide perspective in this hour of conflict in America. God is not as concerned about rights or turf as we are because he knows this messes us up. It’s not that God doesn’t want to bless us with things, but we get “graspy” and try to protect things that return low long-term value.
If the church doesn’t understand the problem of violence, she won’t demonstrate the heart of God within the nations. Our work will lack transformative power. The deeper we participate in a system of violence, the more we breed violence. Ouch!
The only Biblical human right I’m aware of is to believe in Jesus and so become a son or daughter of God. After this, I only see people who serve/worship God (and others) or serve/worship Satan (and themselves). That isn’t a right, it is a given — we will serve a master. All of “human rights” to happiness, basic needs, etc. only emerge from first serving and stewarding what we have been given. Human rights can be safely service-based as we apprehend our full liberty in Christ and ownership of all things in him.
How do we apply this to our current circumstance in places like America where we are a nation divided, teetering on violence? If we are standing for truth, when is it time to turn the other cheek? If we are fighting ideologies or conspiracies, what or who is leading us? Is it our logic, our morals, our sense of injustice or our submission to the Holy Spirit?
These are not easy answers, but we should be a prayerful people before we are a speaking or acting people right now. We should be worshiping Jesus before trying to defend the idea of what our homeland should look like. This may be a time for war, but a war stance of the Church is from a gospel of peace.
Lay down your weapons for a while and learn under Christ, gain his heart, his kindness, his willingness to suffer injustice.