I watched this video today: Who would dare to love ISIS (a letter from the people of the cross). I wept as I watched it. It is so easy to get angry, to become afraid, to talk but not so easy to have the correct response identified by that video.
This is my Facebook picture. It is an arabic ‘n’ and is used in Iraq and elsewhere to mark the houses of Christians. Once they are so marked they have several choices: die, flee for their lives or pay a tax for being a Christian. I, and many others, use it as a sign of solidarity with the persecuted church. I am proud to wear it, I am proud to be a Christian. I weep for my brothers and sisters who are being murdered and tortured and persecuted for their faith, I pray for them to stand strong, and trust in the God who saved them and who has promised eternal life to those who believe in Him.
Easy for me to do this in my comfortable house, in my wealthy country, where I can freely walk into church, meet with other Christians, pray, share my faith with fear of nothing more than mockery or pity. Easy for me to pray and intercede, so why don’t I do more? Easy for me to meet with others and pray so why don’t I do it more? Easy for me to read my Bible anywhere so why don’t I do it more? Easy for me to tell people about the wonderful God who loves them – so why don’t I do it more?
But these men who slaughter, who torture, who spread hatred and violence. it’s not easy for me to love them for many reasons, not least the nagging fear that one day they might well be in this land. But I am called to love them. Jesus loves them, He died for them. Their sin is no worse than mine. Sin is sin there are no degrees, we might rank sin but God doesn’t. All have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. And the same blood that repaid my debt pays theirs too. They need the touch of God, to know He loves them just as He loves my neighbour, the man in the street or the humanitarian atheist feeding the hungry.
So I pray for them and I love them because that is what Jesus did when He went to the Cross and died. It is what He would do if He were walking today – what He asks me to do as I walk as His representative.