Protesting war is like protesting forest fires. It is an empty gesture. What we ought to be doing is focus on preventing ‘war’ in the same way we approach preventing forest fires. After all, I do not know anybody who is ‘for’ war any more we than we are ‘for’ forest fires. The protest against war suggests there is a group somewhere against peace? Quite ridiculous really! If we wish our efforts to be more than symbolic then we need to act when and where it counts.
Start with a Generous Opinion
A good starting point might be discussing the issue with a more generous opinion of others. We are all much better served by believing others want peace. This shifts the question away from incendiary and divisive language. The real question should be around the cause of war and not whether you support peace. If you want to rid the world of war, go to the source and stamp out the actual cause.
What if the true source of war was not across the world or in far off political circles, but much closer to home? This would mean the solution is at hand, making us active contributors to both peace and war.
In the movie ‘Forest Gump’, this dilemma is painfully displayed when a protestor of the Vietnam Conflict shows his true colours. Unhappy with the tone of voice coming from his girlfriend he strikes her. Whose for peace now? True to form, he apologizes only to blame others, essentially cementing his lame solution for war as inconsequential and hypocritical.War comes from within man so is not something to be protested but mastered. Click To Tweet
He was unwilling to concede that his actions demonstrated he was the cause of war and not the solution. Had he been less focused on others he might have seen as much. Clearly, it is easier to attend a war protest than it is to actually stand for peace. Who knew?
The scripture, strangely enough, handles this dilemma with concise clarity. The Apostle James is addressing personal conflicts(wars), when he seizes upon a brilliant exposition of truth. He makes the point with one simple question followed by an answer.
“Where do wars and fights come from among you? Do they not come from your desires that rage inside you? You want and do not have. Figuratively speaking, you murder and covet and cannot obtain. You fight and war.” – James 4:1-2
His point is clear, ‘war comes from within man’, it is not something to be protested but mastered.
If this is true then protesting war is pointless. To effectively broker peace we must start with ourselves, or, as Michael Jackson eloquently put it, with the ‘Man in the Mirror’. If we hope to reduce or end war we contribute by tackling the source as we know it. Not the source in distant rooms, but the one immediately before us.Making others into monsters to justify your violence is not a protest against war, it is a demonstration for it. Click To Tweet
Protest at Home
If we want to be against war then be against it. Make your stand against the overflow of resentment, anger and accusation you are tempted to hurl at your brother, sister or neighbour. If you cannot do it there, you cannot do it anywhere. Making others into monsters to justify your violence is not a protest against war, it is a demonstration for it.