I don’t envy those who are debating and making difficult decisions right now. I can’t imagine the pressure they feel to protect our nation, work for the safety of the world, and stem the tide of bloodshed and violence. I also don’t suppose for one moment that there are any easy answers.
But as a Christian I have to ask: how would Jesus treat a murderous terrorist in Syria? And thankfully we don’t have to look far for an answer…
In Acts 9, Saul was travelling on the road to Damascus, in South-Western Syria. He was ‘still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples’ (v1), when he was stopped in his tracks by a blinding light and a voice asking, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” (v4). Saul’s life was never the same from that day on.
The blinding light on the Damascus road was not the flash of bombs dropped in an airstrike, but a revelation of Jesus’ glory and mercy.
Jesus could have wiped out the murderous Saul on a Syrian backstreet. Instead he changed his life through grace. In our PM’s words, does that make Jesus a ‘terrorist sympathiser’?
I don’t know what means of grace Jesus might choose to employ this time round. But personally I struggle to believe he would vote ‘yes’.
So as the terrorist-turned-apostle instructed us, I pray for our leaders and all in authority (1 Timothy 2:1-3) and I pray that the Prince of Peace would do what only he can do…