One of the most distressing aspects of the war in Ukraine is the apparent blessing being given to it by some in the Russian Orthodox Church. When our religious beliefs become so warped that the taking of innocent life is considered acceptable before God, something has gone seriously wrong.
Speaking in a different time and context Jesus issued a challenge to those whose interpretation of religious beliefs caused harm, saying to them, “Which is lawful… to do good or to do evil, to save life or to destroy it?” Such a measure must surely be the yardstick by which we know whether a particular action is inspired by God or not; and that is certainly the measure by which Jesus – whom the Bible describes as the “image of the invisible God” – lived his life.
As the events in Ukraine are played out, the image of God is not seen in the warped actions of an autocrat seeking divine approval for the carnage he has unleashed. Rather it is seen in the selfless actions of those who have stepped in to help the wounded, bereaved and displaced.
As Jesus said it must always be right and Godly to save life rather than destroy it.