Afghanistan & America: The Christian Response

Over the past couple of weeks Americans have seen the crisis in Afghanistan go from terrible to catastrophic, and in recent days, hopeless.  The recent loss of life and potential for calamity and certainty of death is now assured. America, and its respect and dignity, on the world stage, is no more. Most conservative (and liberal) Americans have no more trust in the U.S. government and media outlets. Faith in institutions is at an all-time low. One can hear and see the desperation in the air, on the radio, and broadcasting daily.  Is there hope left?

For many, that answer is no. Turn on your radio and listen to the people calling into popular shows. Take a look at Twitter and Facebook, see the hopelessness, anger, and despair in the words of the people posting. People are losing it and losing it fast. Surprisingly, much of this ire and despondency is coming from self-professed Christians, and this is unacceptable. Christian leadership shows strength in times of weakness, not fear, hatred, and hopelessness; “But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.  For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong” (2 Corinthians 12:9-10).[1]

The question remains: what is the correct Christian response to the events unfolding in Afghanistan? Like all theological answers to difficult questions, it can be found in the word of God: the Bible. The Bible shows us the mind of Christ and the heart of true believers. This is where the Christian must go first before the hatred of the world and the anger of opposition distorts our faith and leads us to vile acts of consternation.

Here are a few standard principles that all God-fearing, Christ-following disciples of our Lord should first consider before they expound their views in the public arena, behind the pulpit, and on social media:

  1. All things begin and end with communication to our Lord through prayer. Prayer is where we (as Christians) start, continue, and end: “In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,” (Ephesians 6:16-18). Prayer grounds the believer in truth and temperance. It is through prayer that the Holy Spirit guides the soul to do the will of the father (John 14:26). Furthermore, we are instructed to never cease from praying: “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies, but test everything; hold fast what is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-22). Notice that Paul conjugates constant prayer with thanksgiving. Christians are always asked to give thanks or be grateful for life, not life’s tribulations but the chance to know God’s will amid great suffering (1 Peter 5:10). Have you given thanks lately to God for what can potentially come from this calamity? Do you not trust Him to make His glory known?
  2. Be honest about the situation at hand. Right now, emotions are stirred, and people are angry. What are you angry about, the loss of life in Afghanistan? This is justified but is being in Afghanistan justified? To the globalist, yes, to the Christian, no. This is a tough pill to swallow but swallow it you shall: the presence of American troops in Afghanistan was not a biblical one, therefore Christians should have been wary of supporting it. Although some non-profit organizations were over there to evangelize, the U.S. Government was not. In June of this year, the U.S. Embassy in Kabul flew the LGBTQ rainbow flag in solidarity with the gay/trans community. This was done in the face of, not only Christians attempting to help Afghanis, but in the face of a modern Afghanistan civilization that could no more appreciate the hubris of this act than eight-century Afghanistan. Christians need to understand that America is no longer a Judeo-Christian country and any attempt to proselytize American values abroad undermines Judeo-Christianity. This conflation from conservative punditry that America is a beacon of Christian virtue is no longer tenable without serious caveats to the biblical text.
  3. Be very careful what you pray for and wish for. The epistle of James says: “You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions” (James 4:2-3).[2] Joe Biden is your president (like it or not), waiting in the wings in Kamala Harris, next up is Nancy Pelosi; what exactly are you hoping for? The batter’s box is a bit thin; wouldn’t you say? This reminds me of 1 Samuel and the nation of Israel begging for a Kind when they had God as a ruler. They were never satisfied with what God gave them as they constantly lost faith. This brought about the kingdom of Saul, which was disastrous for Israel. It did, nonetheless, accomplish short-term goals. John Anderson writes: “However, while the narrative vilifies Saul for his lack of faith and his disobedience, he seems initially to be exactly what Israel desired in a king. They had requested a king to protect them from enemies in the wake of the Philistine-ark crisis—immediately after being appointed king, Saul successfully protects the people and defeats his enemies.”[3] Right now conservative Christians are railing at the walls for a quick fix in Afghanistan, giving no thought or consideration to where God may be in all of this, only to discount the idea that whoever takes over still has 3.25 more years in the White House. Meditate on that for a bit.
  4. Put your faith in God, not the government. It shocks me how many self-avowed Christians are railing at the walls for military strength, retribution, and prideful revenge. How many dead Afghanis will satiate this loss of American dignity on the world stage? When did the American Christian community form this unholy alliance with Global empiricism? Right now, our American pride is hurting and for many, the answer is more military force. This does not seem biblical. What Christians should be calling for is national repentance. The book of Revelation warns Christians of not exalting government, and politicians, over the Church of Christ. This is exactly what has become of modern American Christianity. What the government and the military-industrial complex have shown us, which we are now learning from this travesty in Afghanistan, is that our secular leadership in Washington are the exact people incapable of leading believers in a fallen world where political currency is worth far more than theological wisdom. Trust in God is needed more now than ever, and that trust cannot be granted without repentance. Saint Augustine wrote: “God has promised forgiveness to your repentance, but He has not promised tomorrow to your procrastination.”

The simple fact is this: Christians need to shed their hatred and evil desire for revenge, put their trust in God, and the scriptures, and turn toward Christ for reconciliation, not political revenge, or military avenge. Moreover, Christians are called to love those who hate them and pray for those who persecute them (Matthew 5:44). Right now, the progressive left hates you and the democratic party (and the mainstream media) is attempting to persecute you. That means, much to the chagrin of humble Christians, we should be praying constantly for Joe Biden, his administration, the progressive left, and everyone in Afghanistan, on both sides of the aisle.

Does this comport with your interpretation of the scriptures? It should. The parallax of the Bible is that true faith flies in constant opposition to the zeitgeist of modern secular culture. What is normalized in the media, Hollywood, and political sphere is almost always contrary to biblical virtue and obedience. The world hates you, and he who is in the world will also hate you, not you, but Christ that is in you (John 15:18-25).

Here are some prayers for our nation, the world, and the president. It may be hard but the path to righteousness is a difficult one: “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few” (Matthew 7:12-14). BE THE FEW!

grayscale photography of man sitting on grass field
Photo by Flickr on Pexels.com

For the Peace of the World:

Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the strength of love: So mightily spread abroad your Spirit, that all peoples may be gathered under the banner of the Prince of Peace; to whom be dominion and glory, now and forever. Amen.

For those in the Armed Forces:

 Almighty God, we commend your gracious care and keeping all the men and women of our armed forces at home and abroad. Defend them day by day with your heavenly grace; strengthen them in their trials and temptations; give them the courage to face the perils which beset them; and grant them a sense of your abiding presence wherever they may be; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

For the President and all in Civil Authority:

O Lord our Governor, whose glory fills all the world: We commend this nation to your merciful care, that we may be guided by your providence, and dwell securely in your peace. Grant to the President of this Nation, the Governor of this State [or Commonwealth], and to all in authority, wisdom, and strength to know and to do your will. Fill them with the love of truth and righteousness and make them continually mindful of their calling to serve these people in reverent obedience to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

For our Enemies:

O God, the Creator of all, whose Son commanded us to love our enemies: Lead them and us from prejudice to truth; deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty, and revenge; and in your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you in Jesus Christ; in whose Name we pray. Amen.

Footnotes:

[1] Unless otherwise noted, all scripture is taken from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016).

[2] The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016), Jas 4:2–3.

[3] John E. Anderson, “Samuel, First and Second Books of,” ed. John D. Barry et al., The Lexham Bible Dictionary (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016).

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