Paul’s conversion experience was miraculous, but it also tells us a lot if we’ll pay close attention to the details.
First, Paul thought he was doing God a service by travelling around to arrest Christians. Sometimes this “ministry” involved standing by while these Christians were brutally beaten or stoned to death. But for Paul, these were necessary steps to ensure that those who held differing religious opinions were silenced.
Then, something incredible happened. Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus and knocked him off of his horse.
The words Jesus spoke to Paul in that moment are especially profound. He said:
“Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’” [Acts 26:14]
So, here Jesus explains to Paul [Saul] that whenever he does harm to someone who is in Christ, he is actually causing harm to Jesus, too.
Keep this in mind.
If anyone does harm to another Christian, then they are doing harm to Jesus.
It doesn’t matter if we try to justify our violence by saying, “But Jesus, those Christians were disagreeing with my theology”, or “Those Christians were soldiers fighting for the other side.”
It doesn’t matter if we attempt to validate our aggression by claiming that those Christians are citizens of another nation.
It doesn’t make any difference to Jesus if our reasons for hurting, or shooting, or bombing, or killing our brothers and sisters in Christ are based on religion, or nationalism, or anything else.
No. The simple truth is this: We are not allowed to bring harm of any kind to another brother or sister in Christ for any reason.
There is no excuse.
That means that we, as followers of Christ, are not allowed to justify violence against other Christians by claiming that we’re simply following orders.
And this is why I believe that Christians shouldn’t participate in military combat. Because there’s no way of knowing if the people we are about to shoot, or bomb, or kill are members of our Christian family.
Bombing those Christians is the same as bombing Christ.
But, if we remain neutral in matters of war then this is never an issue for us.
Let us resolve to repent of our violence and to forever lay aside all weapons of war.
Our King is the Prince of Peace.
Our Gospel is the Gospel of Peace.
Our Nation is a Holy Nation.
Our weapons are not of this world.
Our enemy is not flesh and blood.