Before we can fully understand what God has said about terrorism, we must first understand what it is. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines terrorism as: “The systematic use of terror especially as a means of coercion.”
So, terrorism includes ISIS’s worldwide campaign of random acts of violence to create fear in the world, as demonstrated this past week in Spain. On a national level it is defined by the testimony of a Google employee fired for his criticism of what he perceived as work place terrorism. He personally felt the culture of shame and coercion, which is being used to silence dissenting opinions within the company. Everyday, people in our country experience the household terrorism of a husband using verbal or physical abuse to coerce his family into submission.
In the not so distant past we witnessed the KKK burning crosses on certain people’s lawns. Some in the black community used anger during the Watts riots to justify violence as a response to bigotry; both the cause and the response are examples of domestic terrorism. More recently, we see the systematic inciting of violence during peaceful protests. These are also acts of terrorism. Has God ever endorsed the use of terrorism to solve the issues involved in these acts?
What does God say about treating people based on the group they are in? Job 34:19, “How much less to him that accepteth not the persons of princes, nor regardeth the rich more than the poor? for they all are the work of his hands.” Is God saying He created everyone? Deut 10:17, “For the Lord your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward:” Is God saying He does not favor one group over another? Is He saying we should all be treated equally? Does God want us to see all acts of terrorism as wrong, no matter who commits them?
On a global basis, terrorism is used to spread a particular groups ideology, Prov 6:16-19, “These six things doth the Lord hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.” Does God say he hates the shedding of innocent blood?
Rom 12:19-21, “Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord. Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” Is God not calling for us to return good for the evil we face? Modern day examples of the success of a non-violent approach are Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Nelson Mandela and so many more.
Ps 34:14, “Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.“ Doesn’t God call us to seek peace?
Lk 12:4, “And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.” The heart of terrorism is fear. Is God telling us not to fear? Will this not remove the main purpose of terrorism?
Ps 11:5, “The Lord trieth the righteous: but the wicked and him that loveth violence his soul hateth.” Is God saying He hates those who love violence?
Lk 12:51, “Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:“ Is God not telling us we can know who is with Him and who is against Him by their acts of violence? Does God ever ask us to use violence or terrorism? Can we ever use terrorism in the name of God? Or, does God call us to walk on a different path? Matt 5:43-48, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.”