Terrorist or freedom fighter?



Joshua 10:29 Then Joshua passed on from Makkedah, and all Israel with him, to Libnah, and fought against Libnah. 30 The Lord gave it also and its king into the hand of Israel; and he struck it with the edge of the sword, and every person in it; he left no one remaining in it; and he did to its king as he had done to the king of Jericho.31 Next Joshua passed on from Libnah, and all Israel with him, to Lachish, and laid siege to it, and assaulted it. …34 From Lachish Joshua passed on with all Israel to Eglon; and they laid siege to it, and assaulted it…36 Then Joshua went up with all Israel from Eglon to Hebron; they assaulted it…38 Then Joshua, with all Israel, turned back to Debir and assaulted it…40 So Joshua defeated the whole land, the hill country and the Negeb and the lowland and the slopes, and all their kings; he left no one remaining, but utterly destroyed all that breathed, as the Lord God of Israel commanded.

A dear brother of mine asked a great question this morning related to our readings in Joshua, “Is there a parallel between the religious purging/slaughter by Joshua and his merry men and what radical muslims are doing now? Why wouldn’t those attacked by Joshua view him as a terrorist?”

Excellent point. Reminds me of a comment I read from the American commanding general of the WWII bombing raids over Japan in 1945, General Curtis LeMay. At that time, Japanese cities were constructed mostly of combustible materials, so General LeMay directed they be fire-bombed (see pic). The tactic was brutally effective, destroying many cities and killing hundreds of thousands of civilians – far more than the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki combined. After the war General LeMay noted that, had the allies lost the war, he and many other senior military leaders would likely have been tried as war criminals. Wow.

As a wise person once said, “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” 

World history is full of crimes against humanity in the name of religion. I’m in no way suggesting the terror attacks happening today are justifiable. They are not. However, as my dear friend suggested, it might behoove us to consider events from someone else’s perspective.

Dear Lord, give us grace to be advocates for peace in a violent world. We ask this in Jesus’ name. Amen.

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