November 11 rolls around again, and we haven’t learnt much on how to prevent war, have we? Because here we are at war still, this time between vaxxers and anti-vaxxers, between those who are pro and anti vaccine passports, who differ widely on vaccines and masks for young children, along with protests in major cities against bullying government policy and threats against our freedoms.
We have no idea how to stop war at any level either, whether it’s international skirmishes, or civil wars within a country, or (un)civil wars between races, political parties, genders, or those with different sexual identities.
And it’s leaking out more and more that psychopaths on social media, in government, big corporations and pharmaceutical companies are deliberately stoking up wars between us by feeding us with misinformation, propaganda and outright lies to make us angry at each other.
I’m not surprised that we go to war, then, when narcissistic abusers, who love playing mind games on people, are constantly stirring up fear, deceit and division among us. I used to wonder how a highly influential Christian like Dietrich Bonhoeffer could justify being part of a plot to assassinate Hitler, or why Christians could justify going to war, and even against other Christians – as they did in both World Wars and the American Civl War – but evil is evil and it’s hard not feeling anger and frustration so strong against it that we cannot stop resorting to war, violence and protest, because what else can we do to stop evil in its tracks?
No wonder God had the story of Job included so early in Scripture, because the message was simple: evil is real and only God can deal with it. And in God sending his Son he proved he can deal with it too. Horrible, self-righteous, blindly stupid people managed to kill his Son, but back to life he comes again three days later, and just a few weeks after that thousands of people from different cultures come together as one, and not long after that so do Jews and Gentiles who could never heal their disdain for each other.
And that’s now a vital part of our human history, a story that should be told to every school child, and especially in the days preceding November 11, because we’ve actually got the solution to war and how to end it, and all nicely recorded for us in Ephesians 2.
We’ve also got the book of James filling us in on the cause of war, so we can nip it in the bud before it gets started. Wars begin because of the devil stirring up evil in the form of “jealousy and selfish ambition,” James 3:14-16. Or as the Message translates it: because of us wanting “to look better than others or get the better of others.” And that starts so early in school nowadays it’s frightening. No wonder people “kill and covet” as adults, James 4:2, having grown up in a constant environment of making oneself and one’s own image the centre of the universe, and hating anyone who dares to tarnish or threaten that image.
So how on earth do we reverse those years of endless conditioning? We can’t, but Jesus can, and he’s done it very successfully too, witness what happened in Ephesians 2. He “put to death the hostility” between Jew and Gentile, verse 16, by “creating in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace,” verse 15.
Jesus’ solution to war between peoples was to create a new kind of person all together, that could live just like him with the same attitude of mind he has, and with the same source of power he had as a human to make it happen too (verse 18).
In asking, then, “Will war ever end?” – it’s already in the process of ending, because of what Jesus accomplished for us on the cross and in living his life now in those who trust him.