The tragedy of war
'And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that ‘they' get justice, and quickly.'
The results of injustice often end in conflict where enemies stare at each other with hatred, threat and a desire to get even. Our world is not without battlefronts where war rages in armed conflict.
• The primary victims of todays' wars are civilian women and children, not soldiers.
• Rape has been widely used as a weapon of war. Women have been deliberately infected with HIV/Aids or made pregnant through rape. They have been used to undermine, disgrace and threaten the perceived enemy.
How do we as the Church arm ourselves against the tragedy of war?
‘To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of the world.'
What do we see in our prayers?
‘Again I looked and saw all the oppression that was taking place under
the sun: I saw the tears of the oppressed - and they have no comforter;
power was on the side of their oppressors - and they have no comforter.'
What about war makes us angry?
The Salvation Army International Social Justice Commission's policy intern Casey O'Brien recently completed her Master's Degree in Policing, Intelligence and Counter-Terrorism. For Casey, the subject of war went beyond enemy lines. She looked at the cost to those soldiers who die on battlefields or return home with their personal peace destroyed, and challenged the social acceptance of this fact. To be protected from the horrors of war is to learn from past experiences of nations who take up arms to settle disputes.
How does God respond to conflict?
God sent his son to be the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6) so that:
• The Kingdom of God would seek peace and protect the most vulnerable
• Peacemakers would come from the Church as diplomats in global and civil disputes
• The Church may be equipped as a counsellor to embrace the trauma of soldiers and victims
• The Church would live without prejudice above the political propaganda that judges others as enemies.
Study one hot spot of war and pray for this region.
Liberator God! We cry out to you from the cramped and silent spaces of war, from the groaning and weeping places of sackcloth and ashes, aching over the structures of power and privilege that persist in our world, seeking repentance for our complicity in perpetuating such structures. We loudly lament and expose the injustice of violence that must be named if it is to be challenged and must be turned to dust and ashes, out of which may spring new life and hope for your world.
M. Christine MacMillan, Commissioner
The Salvation Army International Social Justice Commission
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