129 dead. Over 300 wounded, 100 critically….
How do we respond to horrific events like the ones in France this past weekend?
Since 9/11/2001 we see ever-increasing violence, carried out by Islamic extremists. It is difficult to fathom an ideology that would see the slaughtering of defenseless civilians as pleasing to God. Yet it seems that this great darkness is drawing more to its cause with every passing day. As followers of Christ we are to love our enemies, to pray for those who torment us and persecute us.
Jesus was clear about this. Knowing what His enemies would soon do to Him he certainly understood the cost of this demand. I don’t know about you, the emotions I feel, and the actions I consider in my heart towards those who carry out these attacks, are not prayer, love and compassion. They are not even on the list.
Instead I feel anger.
I don’t want to see them brought to justice as our president is so fond of saying, I want to see them taken out. Or as one blogger wrote
“We need to love and pray for our enemies while we kill them”.
Yet I consider myself to be His follower. I believe in and accept the mission of taking the good news into all the world and making disciples of all people. But how do you make disciples of those who feel it is their mission to kill you because of your message, or anyone who disagrees with their theology?
How do you have compassion and love to reach out to them?
But aren’t these exactly the ones Jesus described when He said “love your enemies”?
Even though their actions are horrendous they are still precious souls that Jesus died for. The reality is that if they die without knowing Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord they are lost in darkness and torment forever.
And this is why Jesus suffered and died on the cross. To prevent this from happening.
Even for them, maybe especially for them….
I love my pastor and his wisdom to know what is needed in times like these. Last Sunday he called our church to corporate prayer in these dark times.
Prayer for the people of France.
Prayer for Muslim people. The news we do not hear is that more and more are being saved, coming to Jesus. Not as a great prophet, but as Savior, Lord, God.
Prayer for those who do not. Only light will overcome darkness.
You see at the end of it all this is not a war against France, or the United States or any other nation. It is not a religious war, Islam against Christians.
It is a battle for the souls of people with eternal consequences.
C.S. Lewis had this to say in the midst of the great war of his day as the darkness of Hitler spread over the world.
This universe is at war. But it does not think this is a war between independent powers. This is a civil war, a rebellion, and we are living in the part of the universe occupied by the rebel. *
In our day the cause of religious extremism is only one of many ways the enemy, the rebel chooses to wage this battle. He was defeated at the cross where we all find redemption, forgiveness for our sins.
No matter what they might be.
The rebels aim is to prevent as many as possible like those who committed these horrible act from ever knowing this wonderful truth.
The only truth that will change people, set them free.
Only light will overcome darkness.
* C.S, Lewis “Mere Christianity”