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Q Is it OK for Christians to “fight fire with fire” when anti-Christian forces use lies and dirty tricks to advance their godless agendas?

A In a culture that glorifies violence, vengeance, and victory, it’s tempting to retaliate. But do we further God’s kingdom by “winning battles” or by winning over hearts? In Christian history, “the end justifies the means” thinking has been used to defend the Crusades and other atrocities in the name of Jesus.

Our enemies’ failure to act rightly is not license for us to disobey the Lord Jesus. Our call to love our enemies (Matt. 5:44) and to speak the truth in love (Eph. 4:15) is not contingent on our enemies’ behaviors. The apostle Paul called us to “not repay anyone evil for evil” and to not take revenge “but leave room for God’s wrath” (Rom. 12:17, 19). “Do not be overcome by evil,” Paul continued, “but overcome evil with good” (Rom. 12:21).

I fear that resorting to unjust and unethical means will corrupt our souls. Once we justify even so-called “little sins” like misinforming and misrepresenting, we are allowing sin to infect our hearts. Then we would have lost the war even if we win the battles.

This does not mean we become pushovers. Instead of stooping to the same “dirty” tactics, Christians should oppose deceptions with truth and justice seasoned with grace. Striving to be peacemakers, we must also be ready to suffer for the Lord’s sake.

This is not easy. But it might help to remember that the triumphant Lion of Judah is the Lamb who was slain (Rev. 5:5-14). Christ Jesus has already won the victory.

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