Sin Aginst the Holy Spirit

It is not unusual in discussions among sincere Christians for someone to state, “As long as there are human beings there will be war.” Statements like this get the attention of Christian peacemakers.
Conservative Christian evangelicals tend to support the war. They—Islamic terrorists—are numerous and are out to destroy us. We must destroy them over there before they destroy us over here. It’s a holy war, albeit a crusade against the Islamofacists—whatever that means. Sound familiar? Some of these Christians welcome war because it will hasten the rapture. Whatever happened to the God of Peace and his Only Begotten?
I have often been puzzled by “the sin against the Holy Spirit.” Jesus, when confronted by the religious leaders, was accused of doing Satan’s work. He was healing and liberating and freeing people and he was doing Satan’s work? Just the opposite! Satan means “hinderer.” Jesus was setting people free from whatever hindered them from enjoying the fruits of the kin-dom.
Following Megan McKenna’s lead (On Your Mark), I think I now understand that perplexing phrase—sin against the Holy Spirit. After all these years of mulling this over, the light bulbs went on. The sin against the Holy Spirit is our refusal to believe in the power of the Risen Nonviolent Prince of Peace. It is a cynical refusal to believe that Jesus can and will make all things new.
It is the ultimate sin for the Christian because it is based on nonbelief. We have grown so accustomed to war and violence as the method for solving our differences that we cannot open our eyes and ears to the teachings of Jesus. Pope Benedict likes to say that Jesus is the face of God. Jesus is then the face of the God of Peace.
Tertullian said that, when Jesus disarmed Peter, he disarmed every Christian. For three centuries that were filled with terrible persecutions, Christians took Jesus’ teachings about nonviolence literally—they refused military service, they refused to strike back in violence against their persecutors. One hundred years after the Church got into bed with the Constantinian Empire, you could not be in the military unless you were a Christian. It has been downhill for Christian nonviolence ever since—religious wars, inquisitions, crusades, conquistadors, genocide. In some instances Christians fought Christians and each side thought (mistakenly) that God was on their side. The God of Peace does not choose sides in any war!
We must realize that our allegiance is to the God of Peace. “Blessed are the peacemakers.” “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for justice.” We must believe that Jesus, the nonviolent one, can bring about peace. We must believe that Jesus will “wipe away every tear.” However, Jesus can only do what we allow him to do. Theresa told us that we are the eyes, ears, hands and feet of Christ. We reveal the face of the God of Peace to those around us.
Justice is the door to peace. It is the means for disarming terrorists. Just sets things right—right order, right relationships. Justice is of the heart, a work of nonviolent love. Feeding the hungry, giving drink to the thirsty, sheltering the homeless, visiting the sick, alleviating human misery, and liberating prisoners all strike at the very roots of terrorism. Guns and bullets and bombs will never bring the peace of Christ. When we love one another without exception, the kin-dom happens.
We must not sin against the Holy Spirit. Jesus is risen. We share in that risen life and peace is possible. The only way to make it happen is by living nonviolent lives. Long ago, Pius XII told us that war does not work. Recent popes have repeated the cry of Pope Paul VI, “No more war. Never again war.” In the power of the Holy Spirit, we must believe that peace is possible and act accordingly. In the words of Micah:
Listen here, mortal:
God has already made abundantly clear
What ‘good’ is, and what YHWH needs from you:
Simply do justice,
love kindness,
And humbly walk with YHWH. (Micah 6:8 The Inclusive Hebrew Scriptures)
Proclaim that peace is possible!

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