He said to his people, “Look, the Israelite people are more numerous and more powerful than we. Come, let us deal shrewdly with them, or they will increase and, in the event of war, join our enemies and fight against us and escape from the land.” (Exodus 1:9-10)
In two quick verses, the Biblical writer sums up the entire global paranoia that has, throughout time, given rationale for powerful leaders to subjugate and eradicate large groups of innocent people. At this very moment, Syria’s dictator, Bashar Hafez al-Assad is treating his own subjects with the same disdain. Worse, other manipulative leaders like Vladimir Putin, protect and affirm Assad to protect their own selfish ambitions.
Isn’t it ironic that as much as things have changed over the previous thousands of centuries, how many things remain the same. We Americans have no right to point the finger at others without owning our own sin. We have propped up any number of dictators ourselves. Can you say Manuel Noriega?!
Fear causes any number of poor decisions. Individually and among nations, we can allow our fears to motivate our decisions. Fear has created some of the world’s greatest tragedies. Hitler used the nation’s fears to bring a holocaust down on the Jews. The Serb, Croatian, and Bosnian civil war brought untold suffering with any number of mass graves. The more we attempt to overcome our fear with violence, the more destruction we heap on our world.
Today, pray for our world. But this time, pray for our leaders, internationally, to address their fear. Then, pray for our leaders, that we can learn to address our fears in ways beyond simple, instinctive, lashing out. Christians have an obligation to speak out politically, to address fear in alternative ways, beyond simply acting out with violence. Christ changed the world by taking the world’s violence onto himself. Gandhi and Dr. King followed that Christ like example and transformed their eras. Prayerfully seek the courage to face fear with alternatives to violence and submission. Doing so might just bring about the Kingdom of God.