Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Military Action or Changed Hearts?

It is early in the year when those whom we elected in last year's mid-term elections, have been officially taking their new positions of power. One party, which has not dominated many states or the Senate, has taken over after many years. In the Senate, little time has been wasted in pushing this party's agenda, especially with a controversial piece of legislation which supposedly is a major job creator. Since we have a President who is against many of this dominating party's policies, we can be assured of much deadlock and much not getting done at a legislative level. But not all needs to be lost.

I know that at this time, terrorists are unleashing their evil in the world. Most of us are aware of the terrible attack in Paris by Islamists, though we don't yet know whether they are ISIS militants or from some other terrorist group. It is clear that these Islamists are not playing with us; they mean business. They truly believe that they are doing a good thing! Just as we believers hold that the ultimate expression of our faith in Christ is shown by death for Him or His people, Islamists truly believe that their ultimate expression of faith is shown in killing for what they believe in. Thus, when their religion was attacked by satirists, Islamist militants did what they "believed" was "right": They killed to show their displeasure. It seems that we have not seen the last of these attacks, either. So what should we conclude about Islam and about something called "Islamophobia" that could flare up as a result?

At the same time, we are hearing about Boko Haram militants killing people in an entire village in Nigeria, numbering as many as possibly 2000. Hundreds of those Nigerian schoolgirls, kidnapped earlier last year, remain in the hands of their kidnappers, supposedly "converted to Islam." Daily, grisly accounts of the bloody handiwork of Islamist militants stream across my Newsfeed. It's overwhelming. It is said that the persecution of Christians in Iraq has reached "Biblical proportions." Some had said that "Islam is a religion of peace" and that what we hear about by Islamists, are the actions of a tiny minority who are not representative of the followers of Islam. Yes, most Muslims may be peace-loving people, whether they speak out against these atrocities or fear to do so for repercussions.

The government, no matter what party takes over, can do only so much about radical Islam. They can authorize military might against our enemies but they cannot change these people's hearts against us. The government, whose tool is force, can do only so much.

Many books have been written, from a Christian perspective, about Islam and terrorists. Many of them are written from a prophetic viewpoint, predicting that a major meltdown in the Middle East, especially between Arabs and Jews, and an invasion of Israel by Iran and so forth. On the other hand, missionaries to the Muslim world are countering what they see as "Islamophobia," by writing books telling stories about God's work among Muslims in the most hostile and violent hot spots throughout the world. According to these missionaries to the Muslim world, Muslims are very much on "God's front burner." God is responding to the fears engendered by Islamists and resulting in "Islamophobia," by revealing Himself to Muslims in often supernatural ways and transforming their lives so that they become exceptional followers of Jesus Christ who follow Him no matter what the price. They often endure being disowned by their families, ostracized by their communities, jailed and even die for the Name of Jesus. So what should be our response to the fear brought about by extreme Islam?
The government can't change one heart. Only God can do that. How does this pertain to Muslims or anyone? Well, if we know Muslims in our communities we can take a chance to befriend them and share Jesus with them. Yes, it is easier said than done and I am preaching also to myself. It seems that most Muslim movements to Christ are taking place outside the West. But many Muslims live in the West. They need Jesus too. We can pray for the many Muslims, in and outside of the West, who are enslaved and deceived by their religion. Between military actions and our prayers and outreach, we can win the war on terror. Agree?

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