I have been having discussions with a number of very insightful and sincere Catholics regarding whether or not avoiding conflict is consistent with God’s Will, Christ’s example, and Heaven’s plan of salvation for us. The short answer, regardless of the conflict it may ensue, is no, avoiding conflict is not consistent with either God’s Will, Christ’s example, or Heaven’s plan for salvation for any of us. In fact, just as much harm can be inflicted to justice, souls, and salvation through appeasement than through reckless abandon.
God Almighty did not appease Lucifer and his minions when they revolted because, to do so, would have been contradictory to the very nature of God as the all-knowing, all just, and all good Creator. If God is all of these things, and we know He is, then it stands to reason that any revolt against Him would, by definition, be an unjust, ignorant, and evil effort. God could not appease to evil, to wrong, to injustice, to ignorance precisely because, as the all perfect, all knowing, all powerful Creator of the Universe, He would contradict and betray His very nature by yielding one bit to such evil, thus ascribing it any gain of measure against His perfection, truth, wisdom, and justice.
Likewise, Christ did not appease the money changers in the temple because they too, stood for wrong, evil, ignorance, disrespect, and rebellion against Almighty God. Just as it would have been the height of absurdity for God to “negotiate” with Lucifer, it would have been ridiculous for Christ to sit down with the money changers in a brew of political and social correctness to find common ground and avoid conflict.
If the two above examples provide glaring evidence that Heaven is not about appeasement to wrong, then how can it be that otherwise sincere, intelligent, thoughtful, and caring Catholics may confuse avoiding conflict as the path of God or Christ? I believe that, at its very core, such a belief stems from the mistaken notion that unity, peace, uniformity, understanding, compromise etc. are all good things per se. This myth arises from our mistaken human perception that love is about avoiding conflict and seeking peace, about finding common ground, about compromise, and about meeting others half way. While this may be true in many business, political, social, and practical matters, it is not automatically true in moral matters. Besides, when we deal with others, we are dealing with relative equals in humanity, limitations, and weakness, so compromise and avoiding conflict may often be a good thing in such cases.
However, such areas as moral theology and the notion of just wars remind us that appeasement to evil is not an option. As followers of Christ and children of God, we have a moral and eternal obligation to cultivate a sound moral conscience and ethical analysis. When our opponent is evil, perdition, sin, and the very agenda of Lucifer himself, we are required to stand our ground and not yield an inch. Speak of appeasement to Sir Thomas More and John the Baptist. God does not want us to be appeasing fools, diluted wimps, or compromising cowards. Rather, He wants us to sharply define where we can give ground, and where we will not. He wants that sharp distinction to be based on His Word and Christ’s example. He wants us to have the courage and the strength of conviction to stand up, speak out, and represent His path to salvation as best we can.
Neville Chamberlain was a decent British Prime Minister whose lasting and damning legacy was his oblivious appeasement to Hitler borne of a personal horror of war and belief that diplomacy was always preferable to confrontation. When the true error of his blind appeasement became apparent, he was replaced by Winston Churchill who, as history shows, may be the most loved Prime Minister in British history due to his assertive and brave confrontation of evil, not in blind ignorance or reckless denial of the horror of war but, more important, due to his clear assertion that it is better to fight bravely for a just cause than surrender or yield mistakenly in the face of an evil opponent.
If the beginning of sin came at Lucifer’s revolt and God’s open demonstration that Heaven is not about appeasement to evil, then the end of sin will come when God separates the just from the unjust on Judgment Day. If Heaven were about appeasement, compromise, negotiation, peace at all cost, and keeping everyone happy, God would turn our entire human history into a farce by treating the unjust the same as the just and suggesting a group hug.
Let us not mistake the love of God for appeasing drivel. God’s love is a tough love and, whether we like it or not, it is a dividing and just love which will give each of us what we deserve. The present political and social environment in this world and this nation is such that appeasement only creates confusion, dilution, and more loss of souls. If our shepherds actually had the guts to speak against evil and wrong, against disrespect of God, and in defense of our Faith in word and action, at all times, as More did, we would have far less confusion among the faithful. No, God is not about avoiding conflict. He is about profiling against evil. He is about separating the wheat from the chaff. He is about expecting us to choose which side we are on. This world preaches avoiding conflict because that is the way of Lucifer. We have already seen and will soon see even more how moral appeasement is the true path to perdition. Following Christ and obeying God are not easy paths, and appeasement is just the misguided strategy to convince us that whatever makes things easier for us must be good. God wants us to be united to Him, but on His terms, not on conditions of mutual comfort or satisfaction. If we do not see that His terms are in fact the terms of eternal comfort and satisfaction and instead push our own secular, human perceptions of those goals, that is our problem.
Copyright, 2012 Gabriel Garnica