Wars are never just about good against evil

Judges 21:25 … In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.

1 Sam 8:5 …  appoint for us a king to judge us like all the nations.” 

Romans 7:18-20 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.

Since the time of Adam and Eve, human tensions have always had an element of rebellion – against God and against each other. But there is also an element of tension between the good and evil within ourselves – For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing.

Also, since the time of Adam and Eve, whenever problems arise, we tend to attribute the source of solutions to anywhere else but within ourselves. Sometimes we think our solution lies in the type of government, whether it be socialist or capitalist or something else. Sometimes we think our solution is in a political party or the structure of an organization. And sometimes the way we do things can be made better.

But in the end, the problem is that the problem is human – the problem is us. And the problem with political solutions, is that political solutions work by invoking power – but that power does not have the capacity to eliminate the source of evil with human hearts – particularly within the hearts of those who hold that power. Even with the best of intentions, thinking that things will get better if we can control things, we end up going astray by trying to fix what we cannot control. We cannot fix our own hearts, never mind the hearts of others. The result is a human history over-run with examples of our capacity to abuse power.

Our history is a constant mix of good and evil. Some people started thinking that they were better off by leaving a place where governance was a problem and instead finding a place where they could govern themselves. They could even justify their decision with religious reasons. Even in that different place, for what seemed to be good reasons they rebelled against old authority and establish a better system of governance. Then they even found “good” religious and even scientific reasons for eradicating and abusing people that they could classify as less than human. There was some good that came out of all that – but it was a human effort and naturally not all good. Because the best of us is not good enough.

In our current day, we can identify a “clash of civilizations.” The most notable are are the governments of the “West,” the Russian government and the Chinese government. In all those cases, there is a mix of good and evil, a mix of some good intentions and abuse of power. In the current situation, the backstory of Putin includes a yearning to restore an eastern culture with its religious roots …

“We see many of the Euro-Atlantic countries are actually rejecting their roots, including the Christian values that constitute the basis of western civilisation. They are denying the moral principles and all traditional identities: national, cultural, religious and even sexual.”  (from a speech Putin gave in 2013) …

But sadly, even with such motives Putin has resorted to using political and military means to try to restore what cannot be restored through such means. The only violence that advanced the cause of Christ was the violence used to execute Him, where He received the penalty for all the violence humans perpetrate.

It is proper to respond with compassion to those who suffer Putin’s unjustified wrath. But it would be well to respond with humility, knowing that the divide of good and evil in Putin’s heart is the divide that goes through ours. It is not through our own doing but only through God’s mercy that He allows the good to triumph over evil and that His righteousness prevails over our unrighteousness.

The solution to our problem is not our governance or Russia’s governance, but in the goodness we can live out through grace of God.

Matthew 24:6-14 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for this must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. All these are but the beginning of the birth pains. “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.

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