Love your enemies
"But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust." Matthew 5:44-45
Are Christians allowed to be soldiers?
I'll be upfront here, I served in the US Army for two years as a combat engineer. But was this a wise decision? Did it honor God? And most importantly, should any Christian serve in the military?
What does a soldier do?
There are a number of different jobs in the military, many of them are non-violent such as cooks and medics. However, every recruit is required to complete basic training where they are taught that they are soldiers first with whatever specialized training they receive later. What does this mean? It means that if the circumstance calls for it, even a cook is expected to pick up a weapon and use it.
There's no way around it, soldiers, regardless of their job description (MOS), are part of the war machine. America is at war and there seems to be no end in sight. Lives have been lost on all sides and lives will continue to be taken and destroyed, families shattered, and communities decimated. While this can happen from drone strikes, this often happens from the barrel of a soldier's weapon. Young people in their prime are out there taking the lives of their fellow humans, and often this includes young men and women that call themselves Christians.
As Christians, we are told over and over to love our enemies. We're also told to die to ourselves. Even one of the ten commandments tells us not to kill (some people say this is restricted to only murder though). But the truth of the matter is, as Christians, we believe that all humans are made in the image of God. We also believe that when God created everything, he said it was very good. He did not create death, for that is the undoing of the life God created. But we live in a violent world. War and death is part of our reality for now.
But I say, no Christian should take part in the taking of another person's life. We a Christian kills another person in combat, that Christian kills one of two kinds of people: Christian and non-Christian. How absurd it would be for one Christian to kill another. Likewise, how senseless it is to kill a non-Christian, for in doing so that person is doomed to an eternity of never knowing Jesus. I believe that Christians should not become soldiers, for often they are trained to kill or support those that do the killing.
Who is the real enemy?
"For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world-rulers of this darkness, against the spiritual (hosts) of wickedness in the heavenly." Ephesians 6:12
The enemy of the Christian is never another person. The real enemy is spiritual and our weapons are never hand guns and rifles. Check out this link for a more comprehensive explanation on who our real enemy is.
I'm not posting this to upset anyone. I met some amazing people when I was in the military. I also realize that some countries require all their young men to serve in the military regardless of their faith or beliefs. However, in America, we have a volunteer army (for now). If you're a Christian, and haven't joined the military yet, please stay out of it for in war everyone is a casualty.