Fighting Fire with Fire?


Time and again I find myself confused by the strategy of many to relieve injustice and oppression. Let me say at this point that I am for Justice and a robust understanding of the sanctity and dignity of humanity. But let me also say that one must ground these beliefs in something. I ground my beliefs in the Christian Faith, and in the Word and Character of God. The are numerous verses in the Old Testament that show God’s contempt on the mistreatment of His creation. The following are just a handful of the verses that speak on the issues of oppression and injustice.

Do not oppress the widow or the fatherless, the foreigner or the poor. Do not plot evil against each other.’
Zechariah 7:10
Do not exploit the poor because they are poor
    and do not crush the needy in court,
23 for the Lord will take up their case
    and will exact life for life.

Proverbs 22:22-23
If you really change your ways and your actions and deal with each other justly, if you do not oppress the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow and do not shed innocent blood in this place, and if you do not follow other gods to your own harm, then I will let you live in this place, in the land I gave your ancestors for ever and ever.

Jeremiah 7:5-7
Whoever mocks the poor shows contempt for their Maker;
    whoever gloats over disaster will not go unpunished.

Proverbs 17:5
May he defend the afflicted among the people
    and save the children of the needy;
    may he crush the oppressor.

Psalms 72:4
Again, I ground my desire to see justice and respect of peoples in the Word and Character of God. My confusion comes in when people use unjust means to try to serve justice and/or try to fight disrespect with disrespect. The idea is to fight back, but in fighting back prejudices are strengthened and walls are built up that prevent any real justice or accord. Some examples that I have seen or heard about include things like the struggle with racism. In order to fight racism White people are demonized as a group. Beyond the logical fallacy in this kind of reasoning is the fact that this does nothing to advance the championing of those who are being oppressed. This same kind of thing has occurred in sexism, as well as other modern issues. The fact is that we will never be able to find peace through war. War will always beget war until the end of time, and peace will always be the only way to peace. War can only produce two outcomes: repeated cycles of war with periods of armistice or annihilation of one’s “enemy”.
Let us take Jesus’ Incarnation and Crucifixion for example. God loved His creation so much that He sent His Son to end the war between Mankind and God. For this to be a possibility Jesus gave up His life peaceably, not in a “blaze of glory”. Let us look at it in a more common way. If my wife and I get into an argument, one of us must apologize, and hope that the other one will accept, and possibly even apologize as well. If we both refuse to cease hostility then we will either have a very hostile marriage or we will get divorced. And this bring me to one of my core beliefs. The actions of another do not determine my actions. My actions should remain grounded in and inspired by God as always. If I follow this path, then I will find myself more inclined to “lay down my life” (figuratively and literally, if need be) to cease hostilities between myself and others.
Please note that I am not saying that I lose or give up my convictions as a follower of Jesus Christ, but I am saying that I see no need for hostility toward flesh and blood, but rather I should focus my hostile energy on spiritual enemies. Let us not forget that all of Mankind is made in the Image and likeness of God, and as He hinted to Jonah, He cares about all of them.

Until next time, May God lead us in His divine will as we seek to serve Him rightly.

In Christ,

Perry Tripp