Like most Americans, indeed like most of the conscious world, I was disturbed by the immolation of Jordanian pilot Moaz al-Kasasbeh by the thugs who call themselves ISIS. No! Disturbed is not the right word. Disturbed sounds like like the measured response of a politician. I was horrified! I was repulsed! I was disgusted! I was angered! I was saddened! The murder of al-Kasabeh was exceptional in its cruelty. And I, for one, have had a stomach’s full of the psychotic behavior that is supposed to be passing as religion. These men seem to take delight in rape and murder, in degradation and barbarism. What kind of religion is that? What god is it that sanctions this depravity? I imagine it can only be some sort of black dog that speaks to them in the early morning hours.
I think of myself as a religious man. Rather, I am a Christian. I mean by this that I have given my life to Jesus Christ. In fact, I have given my life to Christ twice, because at one time, I became angry and took my love for God back. It was only after I was on my knees, beaten by the enemy, in tears and agony, that I realized I needed God – that my life was a mess without him. I came back to Christ, this time determined to stay faithful even through the storm.
The continuing demonstration of evil by ISIS has me asking questions about many things, one of which is, “what should my response be as a Christian.” NOT as a man. NOT as an American! As a Christian, how am I to respond?
I am asking the question. No where in this post should anyone presume that I am answering a question. I am asking.
I read scripture every day. Being a Christian (in my mind) means that, among other things, one must be in the word of God daily. (And before anyone gets offended, I am not suggesting that if one doesn’t read the bible every day that one is a bad Christian.)
Today, I read Luke 6:27 – 29. “But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on the cheek, turn to him the other also…”
In light of recent events, I had to stop. What does that mean? I had to talk to God. “Certainly, Lord, you are not suggesting that as a Christian, I love ISIS? No way! Look at what they did to this innocent man; they burned him alive! Look at what they have done to other innocents – men there in the region not to fight, but to provide aid and assistance. Look at what they have done to children, to women. They are evil God. If there is evil in the world, certainly they are the personification of evil. Yes?”
I looked further in scripture and I just couldn’t find anywhere that it said, love your neighbor unless he is really awful and does horrible things. Christ just didn’t say that.
Again, I am asking. Are we as Christians called to love even ISIS? And is it this call to love EVEN IN THE FACE OF BARBARISM, what separates our GOD from the god they pray to?
I looked further and found this: Matthew 7:13 – 14. Christ says, “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.”
The narrow gate. Christ tells us that being a Christian isn’t easy. Walking the road with Christ is difficult. And for some the walk is nearly impossible.
Maybe one of you has an answer. Perhaps, there is one of you who is more mature in the Lord and can walk me through this. I know that I am not the only Christian who has asked himself this question. I am not the only Christian who has asked himself if he is physically able to get on his knees and pray for ISIS.