Have no fear, Christians will not retaliate

Following the cowardly, contemptuous and condemnable attacks on several churches in the Klang Valley by some obviously fanatically and foolhardy persons, IGP Tan Sri Musa Hasan has ordered all state police chiefs to organise patrols to monitor mosques and churches as “we do not want any untoward incidents happening at the mosques or churches.”

By Thomas Lee

It is certainly commendable of the IGP to order the beefing-up of security around the places of worship in view of the perceived and real threats of such detestable destablising by persons of deranged and destructive character and conduct.
However, I can say on behalf of my fellow Christian believers that none of us will take any violent revenge or retaliatory action on people who abuse or prosecute us unreasonably without any just and fair causes.
As Christians, we are to honour God with our righteous character and morally correct conduct, which include adhering to the principles of love, peace and good neighbourliness, even to peoples whose faiths are different from ours. We will never resort to violent actions to promote, propagate or protect our faith as we believe that we are created in the image of God who is holy, loving, kind, compassionate, merciful and forgiving.
We also believe the governing authorities are appointed by God as part of his sovereign design to ensure the proper operation and functioning of the civil society.
We have been taught to submit ourselves to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established (Romans 13:1). Hence, we expect the authorities, to whom we pay tax (Matthew 22:21), to be just, fair, transparent, accountable, and be held responsible for our well-being.
The injuction to submit to the authorities, however, is not just a blind blanket acceptance of everything imposed upon us by the government. As believers in God, we assess, evaluate and measure every piece of legislation, policy, programme and project in accordance what is instructed in the Word of God. We reserve our God-given fundamental right to oppose and protest against unjust and oppressive laws such as the Internal Security Act (ISA). Ultimately, “We must obey God rather than men!” as the apostle Peter tells us in Acts 5:29.
But whatever we do to protect our rights in the country, as believers in the God who has imbued in us the fruit of the Spirit — love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23), WE WILL NEVER RESORT TO ARSON, RIOTS and VIOLENCE!

The principle which govern our life and lifestyle are those that the Lord Jesus Christ gave us in his Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3-12:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
So the IGP, and the government, can rest assured that no Christian groups will be launching counter-attacks on those we believe to be responsible for causing damage to our church buildings.

There are only four actions we Christians will take in the face of such calamities. The first is to pray, because as true believers in the true God, we know he will take care of us. Secondly, we will use constitutional and legal means to seek redress in the courts for the injustice caused to us. Thirdly, there are times when we are forced to resort to civil non-violent protests such as hunger strikes, silent boycott of certain things and events to register our unhappiness. Finally, we will use the ballot box to bring about the redemption of our rights as citizens.

NOTE: Thomas Lee, who retired as a deputy editor in The Star in June 2009, has been a socio-political analyst since he returned to Malaysia from studies in Australia in 1975. He holds two master’s degrees, including one in theological studies.