Just War?


Do you ever struggle with the apparent tension between Jesus’ command to turn the other cheek and the decision of governments to declare war on other nations?  Below is an excerpt of a thoughtful e-mail I received a few months ago on the subject

I have some questions that I hope you can help me to resolve.  I have grown up in the Christian faith.   This leads me to strive to follow the teachings of Jesus.   Jesus, it seems to me, lead a peaceful existence to the point that many around him were puzzled by his lack of retaliation or preemptive attacks on others.

This being the case I cannot understand why so many Christians support various wars.  If a church leaders mission and all Christian’s mission is to teach the way of Christ, supporting war and violence seems inconsistent.  Christ’s teachings do not make any exceptions for violence.  He says faith, hope, and love are what the world needs, not violence.   The world has tried violence for thousands of years and it has brought us nothing but more violence….

What do you think of this?  Am I missing something?  How is supporting any war consistent with following Jesus’ teachings?  Is it not the case that according to Jesus’ teachings that it is a sin to continue to support a war?  Thank you for your time and help.

Here is an excerpt of my response, and I hope that many of you will find it helpful:

Thank you so much for your thoughtful and well-communicated question.  I believe this is a question that every believer must ask themselves and wrestle with.
While I do not want to present my personal view as the “Christian view” or even the view of Southcliff, I would like to share an article with you that articulates my own conviction on the subject.

Please let me know if I can be of further assistance as you prayerfully consider this difficult topic.