Ecclesiastes 3:8 “a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace.”
After eleven years of war, I don’t think there are many words that could ring more true than the words of Solomon in his book Ecclesiastes. America has been in a long drawn out conflict where our men and women have been called on to defend not only our freedom, but also our way of life against Extremist factions of Islam.
It seems that in the midst of war and conflict, the words of life can lose their power in our life. Solomon in writing on the futility of life without God tells us that we will all go through seasons. Sometimes those seasons require that we defend our nation and kill. War is always regrettable and unfortunately a necessary evil in a fallen world, but as CS Lewis said, “you either do nothing (which disobeys the intuition) or you must help one against the other.” Simply meaning this, at times the greater evil is to do nothing against evil, but love will intervene against evil and prevent it with the least violent response available.
Solomon also has the wisdom to immediately follow up killing with healing, with breaking down and building up. The men and women of this country who have so nobly served have been broke down through year long deployments every other year, separation from friends, separation from family and some have given their last full measure of devotion. They have been asked to do the very thing that humanity was never intended to do…to kill another human being. The effects of such a long drawn out war are immediately evident. We have hosts of soldiers who are suffering from a variety of levels of PTS (Post Traumatic Stress) or moral injury, or physical injuries, or familial injuries and death.
These men and women are suffering and it is the privilege of the Church (of all denominations) to come together and meet these heroes where they are at, in the middle of a new war, a war in their minds and souls over what they have done, seen, and experienced. Solomon tells us that there is a time to kill and a time to heal, a time for war and a time for peace. It is quickly becoming a time for peace in our nation. In the midst of that transition we must be Jesus to them, show compassion to them, love them, accept them, and help them build back up and heal.
I believe for all the churches in our immediate area as well as abroad we must begin to teach the men and women of the Armed Forces the truth the Bible tells us about war to help mend their souls. War is a necessary evil on this side of heaven, however as Christians you have obeyed authority, without hate or malice executed justice on behalf of our nation, and you have not sinned. God is not displeased with you, and by doing your duty honorably it will not interfere with your relationship with God.
We also need to speak the truth to them that there are consequences of living a life of war. That they were never originally intended for this and there has been damage to their mind and souls, but Jesus will heal both their minds and their souls.