A few years ago I attended a conference in London regarding the Muslim world in transition. I presented a paper there and chaired a session. One of the sessions I went to was a paper by a person who is an expert in Britain on weapon's development and terrorism.

He began his talk basically with the statement that in the future we will fight terror with technology. Ironically, the PowerPoint he had planned to use failed because of technical difficulties.

It makes me nervous to think we are putting so much hope in technology. Technology often fails. I wonder if there are things we can do before a terrorist makes the decision to strap a bomb on his body. Is there something we can do to stop a person from turning a plane into a missile? Is there something we can do to intervene before a young man or young woman turns frustration and hate into death for innocent people — Muslim, Jew or Christian?

We need wisdom. Yes, we need technology. But we need wisdom first.

Is taking matters into our own hands the right approach?
Here is Jesus' wisdom for us (let the reader understand):"Blessed are the peacemakers — they will be called children of God" (Matthew 5:9 TV*).

Here is Paul's wisdom for us:

If people mistreat or malign you, bless them. Always speak blessings, not curses. If some have cause to celebrate, join in the celebration. And if others are weeping, join in that as well. Work toward unity, and living in harmony with one another. Avoid thinking you are better than others or wiser than the rest; instead, embrace common people and ordinary tasks. Do not retaliate with evil, regardless of the evil brought against you. Try to do what is good and right and honorable as agreed upon by all people. If it is within your power, make peace with all people. Again, my loved ones, do not seek revenge; instead, allow God's wrath to make sure justice is served. Turn it over to Him. For the Scriptures say, "Revenge is Mine. I will settle all scores." But consider this bit of wisdom: "If your enemy is hungry, give him something to eat. If he is thirsty, give him something to drink; because if you treat him kindly; it will be like heaping hot coals on top of his head." Never let evil get the best of you; instead, overpower evil with the good (Romans 12:14-21 TV*).

What Jesus and Paul ask us to do is not easy. They ask us to become peacemakers, loving our enemies and trusting God (not our technology) to settle the score. This rubs us the wrong way. We think we must take matters in our own hands.

Is taking matters into our own hands the right approach?

Sometimes yes.

Sometimes no.

It depends on what "matters" means. Some matters are best left for God.