BIBLE DIGEST - Number 61                                                                                  August 1996



Allon Maxwell

A recent newspaper statistic claimed that there are currently more than 40 wars in progress around the world. In those wars it is not only soldiers who die. Civilians die too. Women and innocent children die, or suffer as much or more than the professional warmakers. They suffer terribly, and die terribly, as you read this.

Other wars are now "finished", but the destruction continues! 

It has been claimed that the "residue" from some of those "finished" wars includes more than 100 million live landmines still in place. Those landmines continue to claim innocent civilian victims (including many children). In our Western world we are regularly confronted by graphic television documentaries which portray the suffering of those who have been maimed by those legacies of wars which although concluded, refuse to go away. 

The responsibility for those wartime and "peacetime" deaths and maimings, lies not only with the governments who were involved. 

It must be shared equally by the governments of countries who although not at war themselves, permit their arms manufactures to sell the weapons directly or indirectly, to the warmakers.

It must be shared equally by the managers of the "defence" industries of the Western world who are willing to take a profit from all that death and suffering and destruction. 

It must be shared equally by those employees who are willing take their bread and butter from working in those industries.

It must also be shared by those shareholders who provide the money which finances the arms manufacturers ....... who divide the "spoils" of war amongst themselves!

And just for good measure let us include in that assembly, those Christian Churches who not only tolerate members who are involved in those "fringe" war activities, but also encourage them to put their tithes and offerings, earned from the suffering of the victims of war, in the collection plate!

Of course it is entirely possible that there are many sincere Christians who have not thought through the implications of their sometimes remote involvement in the wickedness of the wars of our world, (and the equally wicked aftermath).

For these we ask the following questions :- 

- Do you work in a defence industry? 

- Do you work for an Arms Manufacturer? 

- Do you hold shares in a company which manufactures Weapons of War? 

- Or do you hold shares in a company which although not itself a direct Arms

   Manufacturer, supplies the raw materials, or re-invests some of YOUR money
   in ownership of companies in the Defence Industry?
(In today's complicated and incestuously interlinked business world you can be made the unwitting partner in many things which Jesus definitely would not approve. The responsibility is yours to know EXACTLY what is being done with YOUR money!)

Think about it!! ...... Pray about it! ...... And if you love Jesus ...... If you love your neighbour as yourself ...... then as far as humanly possible, ...... and as God opens you eyes when you pray for wisdom ...... consider whether you should abdicate from all involvement which contributes your actions, or your money, or your approval, towards the suffering of your neighbor in other lands!

And while you are thinking about your response to this challenge, perhaps it would also be good to prepare your personal "Judgement Day Speech" in advance ...... about how YOUR war involvement, direct or indirect, fits with those uncomfortable words of Jesus :-

"I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the LEAST of these brothers of mine, you did for me." (Matthew 25:40 NIV)