a conscientious objection, pt. 5

Continuing the essay...

Applying for CO status seemed to be asking for permission to be excused. I wanted to object to the wrong, take a stand against it, refuse to participate in it. That’s what I had done so far. And while I had initially fled in fear of the consequences of that objection, now I had come back to face them. But I was not repenting of my refusal to participate, my refusal to keep giving military orders. I was not asking for mercy from those who I was objecting against. I was not asking permission to be excused.

During this time of waiting and being summoned before military lawyers, I frequently thought of Jesus’ trial. I didn’t see myself as completely innocent; I was at fault for promising to serve in the military in the first place, and for running away. But I still looked to Jesus as my model. And it was clear that he didn’t ask for mercy from the authorities that had charged him. He didn’t defend himself or insist on his rights and often he even refused to answer their questions. Why? Because Jesus wasn’t the one on trial—they were. Their judgment would determine God’s judgment on them. Despite how it appeared, the situation wasn’t in the hands of the authorities, it was always in God’s hands. I remembered Jesus’ words to Pontius Pilate:
Pilate said to him, “You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?”

Jesus answered him, “You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above…” (Jn 19.10-11)
Jesus’ quiet, courageous refusal to beg or even answer them showed that he wasn’t looking to the human authorities for mercy or justice, but to God.