There's a famous song written by Pete Seeger, yet popularized by The Byrds way back in 1965, called "Turn! Turn! Turn!"
You've probably heard it before. It takes the words from Ecclesiastes, chapter 3 and sets them to a groovy tune and says:
On Saturday of last week, driving around in our car, my family sang along to this one. The next day, when our church family came together, one of our members actually referenced the song and read from the verses in Ecclesiastes where the song is derived.
That made me think.
What especially hit me was how often I hear Christians refer to this verse as a way to justify violence. "It says in the Bible, 'there's a time for war and a time for peace; a time to kill and a time to heal', so obviously God makes room for violence when it's necessary," people will say.
But is that really so?
I would argue that there is a time for war and a time for peace, but that Jesus (our Lord) has established for us what "time" it is now.
Jesus showed up and announced that the Kingdom of God had come. Then he gave us - his followers - a very specific command: "Love one another."
Next, Jesus commanded us not to hate our enemies, but to love them.
Then, he rebuked Peter for using a sword by saying, "Put that away! Those who live by the sword shall die by the sword."
Then he told Pilate "My Kingdom is not of this world. If it were my disciples would fight."
So while there may very well be a "time to kill" and a "time for war", Jesus has made it very clear that we are now living in a "time of peace" and "a time to love".
The question is: Are we following Jesus?
One last thought: What if our Judgment Day before the Lord Jesus consists of Him calling our enemies forward to ask them if we loved them as He commanded us to do?
What would they say?
How would we defend our lack of obedience?
The time for love is now. We are in a season of love, not a season of war or hate.
Let's get busy loving.