When I was very little, I used to wonder why there was such a thing as war. “Why can’t people get along?” The fact that my younger brother and I bickered constantly should have been a clue. I had the silly, childlike notion that every country should build bridges to all others and meet in the middle. If we loved each other there would be no wars, terrorism, fighting, hatred, or abuse. There, at the middle of the bridge, we would end ‘man’s inhumanity to man’.
The idea of negotiating peace on the middle ground of common beliefs and in a spirit of love made sense to me back then. But I have since learned that love is not enough. The elder John opened his second letter with a claim to “love in the truth.” Truth is as equally important as love. Unfortunately, truth is not easy to find. Most of us wonder, as did Pontius Pilate on the eve of Jesus’ crucifixion: “What is truth?” (John 18.38). If the meaning of truth was not in question, if we all believed the same, then there would be no divisions among us and love would naturally exist. It’s easy to love people who agree with you.
However, there are many versions of “truth” and people have always fought to defend theirs’s. The defense of truth can be extremely dangerous. What if the “truth” I seek and embrace is, in fact, not the truth? A lie from hell can masquerade as truth and cause unspeakable damage, as nearly occurred six years ago at Pioneer Courthouse Square when a bombing plot was successfully foiled during the Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony in the city of Portland.
If you believe that the eradication of the infidel is your greatest expression of love for the supreme being you serve, then you will commit violent atrocities in his name. Sadly, in the case of radical Islam, some young people have no real choice in this matter. They are born into a religious system that fosters unreasoned hatred. They become indoctrinated as toddlers and grow up knowing little else.
Most of us have a choice. We may choose a system of truth grounded in a personal relationship with a Supreme Being who existed before the beginning of time and within whom dwells the perfect combination of love and truth. Through Him we can actually “love in the truth”. Before I can even hope to love anyone I must know and subscribe to the real truth. I cannot simply love and hope for harmony. Love as an idea is meaningless. I must truly love or my love matters not at all.
About 2,000 years ago God showed us what it meant to “love in the truth”...
“But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son
in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.”
Romans 5.8 “The Message”
 The accused terrorist, 19 year old Mohamed Osman Mohamud, felt betrayed by his family: "To my parents, who held me back from jihad in the cause of Allah. I say to them, if you make allies with the enemy, then Allah's power will ask you about that on the day of judgment." (The Oregonian, "Bomb suspect in court today", front page, November 29, 2010).