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Now is the time to start loving our enemies

Philip Young has been considering recent events in the Middle East and believes that it is now even more important than ever to remember Jesus’ instruction to love our enemies.

Twenty years ago, terrorists flew two planes into the twin towers in New York and the tragedy of September 11 became a grim turning point in world history. The survivors are still trying to live with the trauma of that terrible day and our thoughts and prayers are with them at this time of painful remembrance. 
In reaction to this tragedy the ‘War on Terror’ began, and Afghanistan was invaded and occupied for twenty years. During the course of this bloody conflict there was much loss of life and, after the recent rapid takeover of the Taliban, we are left wondering what it has all been for. Was it worth it? 
I have always argued that to meet violence with more violence is never the right way. In my opinion Jesus came to break the cycle of violence and to offer a better way. The way of love. 
We are now left with the legacy after a long war. Many people left in Afghanistan are fearful about revenge killings on those who collaborated with foreign forces. Given the Taliban's record, they are right to be worried. No wonder so many people have fled, and many remain who wish to escape what they suspect will be a cruel and harsh new regime. 
What are we to do? More violence will not work. Another invasion by foreign troops will not solve anything. We must find more constructive and creative ways. We need to turn from war to peace, from hate to love. If the ‘War on Terror’ is failing, then let us not pour fuel on the fire of the vicious cycle of violence any longer. 
Firstly, we should welcome all who wish to flee the country and we should provide them sanctuary by negotiating safe passage for them with the Taliban. Secondly, we should try to engage with the Taliban to offer them help to build a peaceful country within the wider world community. 
They may not change overnight, but to oppose them with more force will only encourage them to fight back with more of their own violence. We also need to encourage them to treat women equally and to include them in their new government. 
Churchill said, ‘to jaw-jaw is always better than to war-war’, and that remains true today - we should seek to talk and engage with those who oppose us. 
Jesus said ‘We should love our enemies’. Make love not war.
The image of houses on an Afghanistan hillside is by David Mark from Pixabay

Philip Young June 2014Philip is an Anglican, Quaker, and a member of the Third Order of Franciscans, and now lives in Felixstowe. Until July 2014 he was the Diocesan Environmental Officer for the Norwich Diocese. In June 2017 he stood as an Independent Candidate for the General Election in the Suffolk Coastal Constituency.  He is now Associate Priest at St. John and St. Edmund in Felixstowe and a freelance writer on spiritual and political matters. He is available to run Quiet Days, give talks, presentations or to preach and can be contacted at philipyoung@btinternet.com. Philip is developing a new website www.revolutionoflovenow.com.



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