The cost can be measured in dollars, but that is only part of the price. It also taxes our moral values. It takes its toll upon our willingness to love our enemies as Christ taught us and to forgive one another. We can lose our ideals and settle for what satisfies the bottom line or do what is immediate rather than what is important. We can buy into false rationalizations that assuage our troubled consciences and prevent us from feeling cognitive dissonance over morally questionable actions.
And in the biblical wisdom that there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9), we also can learn from history on this point.
“The Pax Romana was a time of peace and prosperity for the empire. The development of cobble-stoned Roman roads facilitated commerce and the rapid movement of the Roman army. Anyone or anything that disturbed the Pax Romana was viewed as a threat to the great prosperity of the empire and was dealt with swiftly through violent police actions of the Roman army. Rome created peace through violence, while the emperor himself, Augustus, was the bringer of that peace.” (John Fotopoulos in Thinking Through Faith: New Perspectives from Orthodox Christian Scholars, pg. 22)
The Roman Empire thought Christ, whose Kingdom was not of this world, to be a threat to their peace and prosperity. They crucified Him, and opposed His Church and martyred many of His followers. Their vision of ‘national’ peace saw Christian values as a threat to Roman prosperity. They vigorously and viciously persecuted the Christians. They relied solely on the might of the army to maintain the peace, but in the end they lost the empire to the Kingdom of the Prince of Peace.