Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Islamic State Part II - A little more raw

Over the weekend a radical Jihadists who call themselves the Islamic State released a video in which they beheaded 21 Christians from Egypt that they kidnapped in December and January.

They made threats against the rest of the world saying that they were coming for Rome next (and presumably the rest of the world). 

Okay, so think about it.  There is a reason they are called terrorists.  They want us to be terrified that they are coming for us next.  The Islamic State is using fear to get what they want, but it isn’t working.

Consider this:

·  1.  Muslims in the region are not aligning themselves with IS.  Egypt launched air strikes.  Jordan is mobilizing militarily.  Clerics and leaders in the Muslim world are actually condemning the group and seeing it as a threat to Islam.  We don’t hear those voices because it doesn’t make our news cycle.  IS is at war with Christians and certain Muslims.

·      2.  More importantly, the killings show resolve.  They are killing Christians because Christians are holding to their convictions.  They have all been given the opportunity to change to Islam and they have not.  Let their convictions that led them into death for their faith be the basis for our conviction that we should not live in fear.  If anything else, we owe it to them to live out our faith in fearlessness.

·     3.  Ultimately the Islamic State will be defeated with how we respond to their terrorist threats.  Terrorists will always get more recruits after an air strike but our resistance to fear is not anchored by our guns but our grace.  Christians have a long tradition of sacrifice in the face of threat.  This is because we know that the game is not over at the end of this life.  Terrorism has no hold over people who live forever.

I know how this might all sound – all platitudes and attitudes.  But if there is anything we can do in America as this group does more and more to inflict damage on our way of life, we need to let our faith guide our response.

We cannot fear this group when Jesus Himself said, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.”  This is more than ‘keep a stiff upper lip.’  This is Christ Himself telling us to refuse fear and the hate that comes with it as a way of making us feel better.  Don’t let news broadcasts and conversations about ‘us versus them’ rob us of Christ’s mandate to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. 

Because what our enemies have most miscalculated is that they can interrupt our lives here on earth . . . when the truth is that our lives have not even yet begun. 

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