How do we as Christians respond to events such as the terrorist attack in Paris on Friday? That is one part of the question that I’ve been wrestling with while the other goes deeper. How do we respond to the growing threat of the radicals within Islam? At first look, you may be expecting a complicated answer and certainly there are important nuances of which we must be aware. But the answer is surprising simple and it comes from the Gospel reading for this past Sunday.
We are reminded in Mark 13 that first of all, we should not be surprised by this event. We may be shocked by how brazen the attacks were or we may have been startled that terrorism once again is striking close to home but we should not be surprised. Jesus tells us that we ought to expect these sort of things as they “must take place, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be earthquakes in various places; there will be famines. These are but the beginning of the birth pains” (Mark 13: 7-8). Our Lord continues by saying, “And you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved” (Mark 9:13). The unsettling reality we must live with is that we, as Christians, will be hated by the world—everything and everyone that is opposed to God.
Does that mean we ought to cower back, change our message or lifestyle, or feel sorry for ourselves? No! For we know that the victory is ultimately won. Jesus is victorious! God is working to bring His peace and presence to this hurting and broken world. In times such as these we ought to look ahead and long for that day when Jesus returns triumphant.
For we know that the victory is ultimately won. Jesus is victorious!
But we can’t sit back and wait for that to come. God has called us as His people to be His agents in establishing His perfect peace, rule, and reign on the earth. So while we wait we must confront the question at the beginning, how do we as Christians respond to these terrorist attacks?
Loving our enemies also does not mean that we should harbour hate and fear against refugees. Just as not all Muslims are radicals, not all (in fact the overwhelming majority) of refugees are not terrorists. They simply are people trying to survive and keep their families safe; it is not a choice they would have liked to make for themselves.
I pray that we would be mindful of these things as the situation continues to unfold. There are many emotionally charges responses we as human might want to take but we as Christians must remember our command to love God and our neighbours even to the point of death.
Picture from Pixaby. License CC0. Public Domain
Pastor J-M shares some occasional thoughts and musings on our life together as followers of Christ. The views are his own.
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