Thursday, November 19, 2015

What Is the Christian Response to the Attacks in Paris?

Another deadly terrorist attack.

Place of attack; Paris, France.

130 people murdered, over 350 injured, 99 seriously injured.

On this past weekend of this attack, Facebook blew up with posts calling for the crackdown on ISIS and the halting of the immigration of Syrian refugees in light of all this. Just as the Bible has predicted, our hearts are failing us with fear. States are already going on record as saying that, to keep their citizens safe, they refuse to accept Syrian refugees. Anger at President Obama mounts as he defends his policy to allow Syrian refugees into the U.S. even as he vows to fight terrorism and "defeat ISIS." I have been seeing more and more posts, from Facebook users who are believers, show opposition to admitting refugees, out of fear of letting in terrorists.

What is to be the response of a follower of Jesus to all of this?

At a worship service where I was vsiting this weekend, the sermon included this very topic. The pastor told us just how we need to respond, as Christians.

Recognize That God is Still in Control

It seems that right now, ISIS has control and are leaving people terrified of them and what they can do. It seems that more and more, we are headed to becoming a police state. Our civil liberties are slowly eroding, and now there is all this talk about stepping up military involvement to "stop ISIS." I can understand why people are running scared, especially those who do not know God and His power to change our sinful hearts, even the black, unfeeling, sociopathic hearts of the members of ISIS. Yet we who know God, should believe that God can concert and transform even brutal killing machines such as ISIS members. What does this mean? It means we need to pray. We certainly should pray for all the victims of the attacks, including those who were eyewitnesses of this horror. Pray for a spiritual awakening in France! It is estimated that there are many more atheists than Christians in France. France is said to be more secularized that any other country, plus they have a high abortion rate. Can this tragedy bring about a movement for Christ in France?

Pray for Not only the Victims but Our Enemies

I know that ISIS members are the most hated individuals on the face of the earth. "Bomb them all into oblivion!" and "May they all rot in hell!" and "Stop them now!" are totally understanable rallying cries especially when coming from those who do not know God. These people would just as soon kill us as look at us; they thrive on killing and bloodshed and are killing machines. But we who are believers need to try to see these ISIS members as Chris sees them. He sees them as sinful pesons who desperately need to be saved and transformed. These ISIS members are people for whom Christ died, just as we are. Every one of them was once aa baby and then a young child, and most were indoctrinated and radicalized very early in life or at other times when they were vvulnerable, as in feeling alienated or without any purpose. We Christians, as followers of Jesus, have a mandate to pray for our enemies. And ISIS members certainly ARE our enemies in every sense of the world. They hate us. But we are to pray for those who hate us, even want to kill us! Yes, that is tough. It seems unfair.

Realize That We All Have Sin

The call to pray for our enemies makes sense only when we realize one thing. We must never forget that once, in God's eyes, all of us were His enemies, criminals, and evil. He sees us all the same. Our sinful natures just express themselves in different ways but He sees us all the same. He sees us all as sinners, lost and enemies until He, by His grace, saves us. Only in this context does it make any sense to pray for people like ISIS members who thrive on shedding innocent blood especially of followers of Jesus in ISIS strongholds, who are suffering even worse than everyone else. Over and over, they testify that they pray for their persecutors, and often God transforms these persecutors.

Most of all, let us keep hope alive, because ISIS does not have the last word. Almighty does. Praise Him!

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