Just War? Just Peace?

Can war ever be just? This is a question that often is asked in the circles of people I’m around these days. I’ve struggled with this question for many years. Some days I am a pacifist and other days I’m nuclear annihilation; however, on most days, I find myself in the tension of both. One of the reasons for this is the state of “peace” that so many refer to. “We seek to resolve this dispute peacefully.” Really? Oh, you mean you want to solve this dispute with non-violent means. So… weapons are off the table, but other methods that still create emotional and mental violence based on the use of social power are still on the table. Is such a thing peace?

Peace, in our current world, must be defined by the cross. What I mean by this is that peace requires the laying down of one’s life to the hands of violence. Thus, a peaceful person is one who takes the violence of others into him-/her-self. It is not the absence of violent methods nor the use of a socially coercive method over a physically coercive method; rather, it is you and me saying, “Kill me instead.” “Inflict the pain on me instead.” “I will take the punishment. I will be the victim.”

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