Real Justice and the Paris Attacks

Posted on November 14, 2015 in Justice

This is a tough one.

In my last post I offered two steps to begin doing real justice.

First, forgive the offender, not because they deserve it but to keep one’s heart from anger, bitterness, and judgment toward them.

Second, offer the offender the opportunity to take responsibility for what they did and why. If they show remorse/repentance, offer a path to restoration. If not, punish them in proportion to their offense.

So…what about the Paris attacks that happened yesterday?

When I first learned of the attacks, I was steaming hot. They went beyond terrorism; they were coordinated acts of war against innocents.

ISIS and their ilk know what they’re doing. They’ve calculated the extended implications of their actions. They exploit their “un-uniformed” status and hide behind women and children.

America and its allies say ISIS and their ilk must be defeated. Their likely state sponsor, Iran, must be contained, if not outright defeated.

What of real justice, then?

As difficult as it is to forgive such an attack, shortly after the news broke my wife and I got together and prayed to do just that. To forgive the perpetrators and the masterminds. We don’t want to hold bitterness and judgment toward them in our hearts.

I need to keep praying. I’m not done forgiving.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. preached, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”

How does love drive out the hate in the movement that caused Friday’s attacks and all the other terrorist atrocities? What would that love look like?

First, holding the masterminds and perpetrators to account is not an act of darkness. It is an act of love to protect innocents from future incidents.

Second, we can pray that the French people and government will find a way to forgive and not hold bitterness and judgment.

Third, France is a NATO ally of the United States. The NATO alliance is built on the principle that an attack on one member nation is an attack on all. President Obama rightly characterized what happened in Paris as “an attack on all of humanity and the values that we share.” French president Hollande said his country would wage a response that was “pitiless.”

We need to pray for President Obama, President Hollande, and the leaders of the NATO alliance countries for wisdom to plan the right response and courage to act decisively.

What else?

Christians believe the battle is not against people; it is against spiritual forces of evil. Our weapons are salvation, truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and the Word of God. We are to wield these weapons in fervent prayer and bold action.

The greatest spiritual weapon is love. Sacrificial, self-giving love. Jesus said people would know we are His disciples by how we love each other. He also commanded us to love our enemies and do good to them.

Pray. Deep breath. Loving your enemies is hard stuff.