Two brothers and I had a discussion in our office building this morning. We do this once a week usually; to talk about what God is doing in our lives. This time we were talking about the standard we use to decide what is right and wrong in making decisions in our lives. We were talking about whether it’s right (OK) to use torture to get our enemies to tell us what they know about their plans and operations. One brother said it is definitely OK to sacrifice one guy’s comfort (or even his life) to save the lives of a bunch of others, especially if those people are ‘our’ people. He said it was reasonable, even admirable to act in that fashion. Another brother said that as Christians we should be held to a higher standard of right and wrong, the standard of Jesus, where He said, “You’ve heard it said, ‘An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,’ but I say to you that you resist not evil, . . . that you bless them that curse you, that you do good to them that abuse you, and insult you and persecute you.” He even said that the end never justifies the means. He quoted a Catholic nun who worked with the American ‘Friends’ group, advising people who had applied for conscientious objector discharge from the Army. She said, “The end never justifies the means, because the bad means stains the good end.” Like pirate treasure or ‘blood’ money. She said, “No good thing can be gained by the sacrifice of truth.”
He ended up revealing that he was a conscientious objector from the U.S. Army during the Viet Nam War because after he spent 840 classroom hours learning the Vietnamese language, he was sent to interrogation school. There he was taught to torture enemy captives in order to get to tell their plans and operations. He thought it was wrong to do such things, because Americans, being Christians, were held to a higher standard, and they shouldn’t treat anyone that way, even their enemies. He admitted that while it was a naive notion in the world’s eyes, he believed that if we really trusted God to the degree it talks about in the Bible, we wouldn’t need armies, because God really would take care of us. He told the story of Hezekiah in the Bible.
We recognized that if you’re following the world’s way of thinking, it is completely reasonable to defend yourself from your enemies, and reasonable to treat them in whatever way is necessary to achieve the end of protecting yourself. But if you actually intend to follow the Christian path, the path of Jesus, then you are operating in a completely different dimension, where you actions, and the results obtained by those actions, are completely different, because they come from God.
In the world’s eyes Christian methods ARE stupid and naive; but to God they are the way of truth; and He will deliver those who trust in Him. Like it says in 1 Corinthians 1:27, “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty.”