Okay. I'm saying it out loud.
Ukraine. Violence. War. Power. Greed.
Until recently, I was all about how Jesus will come on a WAR HORSE at the end of the age and set all things right. That somehow VIOLENCE will ultimately usher in the peace we are all longing for.
But I recently read a book that turned all that on its head.
Ten minutes ago, right before I sat down to pen this to you, I watched the whole speech given by the President of the Ukraine appealing to the people of Russia.
I was moved to tears.
Not because of what is happening to his country (which I've wept about countless times as I've watched the videos and seen the pictures of the moms huddled in the subways with their kids at night), but because of the wisdom that he possesses and the truth that he speaks.
This is part of what he says (and you can watch the whole video here):
War is a big disaster, and this disaster has a high price. With every meaning of this word. People lose money, reputation, quality of life, they lose freedom. But the main thing is that people lose their loved ones, they lose themselves.
OF COURSE, I am not an expert on global systems and I hold the tension in my heart for when it is NECESSARY (which seems like might be right about now) to step in and fight for those who are victims of violence, power, greed, and war and especially when you have to defend yourself or your people or your country.
[Please hear me on that. We never allow another to be violent with us. In any way, shape or form.]
However, I am an expert at the violence in my own heart.
The desire to control another.
Have power over them.
The desire for retribution.
Instead of restoration.
The us/them mindset that puts others into categories that I don't agree with, am comfortable with and perhaps I have not deemed them worthy of my time, attention or affection.
In fact, I have watched myself call people groups derogatory names ("they're crazy" "they're bad" yada yada yada) and I've judged people who don't believe or behave the way I want them to.
I might not be shooting missiles at them, but I am at war with them none-the-less.
The last few days has been an heart-opener for sure.
It was easy for me to shout "they're bad over there."
And believe me, I did.
But as I lay in my bed last night, inhaling the pain of Ukrainian moms, holding space for them before the God who hears their anguish, exhaling back out the unwavering love of the God to them, I turned to wonder. (If you want to know more about my breath praying, CLICK HERE.)
What can I do?
Should I send money?
Should I go about my life?
What about me? What about the war that rages inside of me that spills onto others?
And then I turned back to what I've been rethinking over the last several months.
War is never going to bring about ultimate and lasting peace.
Not the big war out there between nations and not the nitty-gritty war inside my heart and with those I sit across the table from.
There isn't going to be a war that ends all wars.
We know that without a doubt as we look down through history.
It's not the way of Jesus.
Every form of violence and evil was heaped upon Him, and He responded with "Father forgive them." We did our worst to Him, and He gave us Himself.
He comes at the end, not on a red war horse, but on a white horse. It's not the blood of others He is covered in, but His own blood.
He is Faithful and True. He doesn't fight with the sword of violence, but with the true sword, His Word, Himself.
When John the Revelator looks for a lion, he sees a slaughtered lamb.
This is how Jesus fights.
This is the way of Jesus.
So while I sit on my own couch, comfy and cozy, but my heart is all a-jitter because of the worldwide stage (once again), I make room for peace.
The way of Jesus, the Prince of Peace.
Not the wide way that leads to destruction. Loss. Of every kind. And in every way.
But the narrow way that leads to life. Hope. Healing. Restoration.
The true way of peace.
In my very own want-to-wage-war heart today.
And in the big world warring out there.
It's all I can do.
P.S. "Daty myru shans" means "Give peace a chance" in Ukrainian. I am whisper-shouting it with their people and their president. P.P.S. The book I read is called Sinners in the Hands of a Loving God by Brian Zahnd.