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Ukraine – how to respond

Russia has invaded Ukraine in a hostile, unprovoked attack. As I write there is a brave defence by the Ukrainian military and civilians but it is likely the country will soon be overwhelmed by the technical and numerical superiority of the Russian forces.

Yesterday I made some suggestions about how we should pray for the situation. Below are some thoughts on how we should be responding as Christians to this crisis.

Righteous Anger

God is always angry at sin. When we see injustice, such as the invasion of a country and the consequential suffering and harm, then it is good and right to feel a sense of outrage. We know our own leaders are not perfect and there are many things that distress us about modern Western society but to send an invading army to a country that is not presenting a threat is an especially outrageous act of lawlessness we should feel anger at. 


Jesus is the great example of compassion in the way he felt and the way he acted out of love for all people. His compassion led him to the cross for the sake of lost people like us. We should feel compassion, like him, at all times for those who don’t yet know Christ but it is also right to feel compassion for people, made in the image of God, who are frightened and hurting.


Wars should not surprise us. They are a consequence of living in a sinful world – an outworking of our individual brokenness – that we are insecure, greedy and idolatrous and sometimes we show the same character as nations. There is something distinctive about the particular brutality and callousness of this invasion but it really should not surprise us.


It is right to be distressed and unsettled because we don’t know what will happen as a result of the events in Ukraine. Will there be a world war, insecurity or economic disaster? As we rightly consider the reality of what might happen it’s easy to lose confidence that God is sovereign and he is good. Nothing has changed in God this week. We might feel less in control but we never were in control anyway. We might feel less secure right now but that doesn’t mean we are not held securely in God’s all-powerful arms. This is a moment when we should not act like the people around us. Yes we will need to be responsible – and for Christians in Ukraine there are difficult choices about whether to stay or to flee – but we should not be thrown into a panic as if God was no longer on the throne


Coming hard on the heels of Covid, this is a strong reminder of the frailty of life and of the ultimate failure of humans to control history. Medicine and democracy are not salvation. As Christians, we have an explanation for why these things happen and good news about an eternity we can go to where there won’t be any tears, or any wars.

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