How would Jesus tell us to respond to ISIS? Should we turn the other cheek? Love our enemies? Pray and trust God will handle it? Overcome evil with good? Certainly Jesus taught all of the above. However, we must also remember that Jesus:
- Publicly identified evil and stood against it.
“You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matthew 12:34, NIV)
- Taught us not to turn away from the needy without helping.
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’” (Matthew 25:35-36)
- Commanded us to love one another and that the ultimate act of love is to lay down our own life for another.
“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:12-13)
Jesus’ teachings are directed to us as individuals; they do not easily adapt to directing national policy.
“But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.” (Matthew 5:39)
However, we, as a nation, cannot pretend that “strategic patience” is Christlike or good. We have:
- Failed to clearly identify evil and oppose it.
- Failed to help innocent people by providing what they need to defend themselves.
- Failed to sacrifice our resources and lives out of love for the oppressed.
The day may come when we as individuals can reach out with goodness and love to those who have been our enemies. The day may come when we can set aside our desire for retaliation and actively work for reconciliation. Perhaps we may adopt these attitudes as a nation. But it is wrong for us as a people to dither and do nothing as wicked people torture, enslave and murder others.