Targeting ISIS


By Benjamin Nelson

How do you solve a problem like ISIS?

I’m an American Christian. I live in suburban New Jersey, where there is a Christian church in every town – dozens in some.

I hear the news and it breaks my heart. But what can I do?

Write to my senator and ask him to bomb the crap out of Iraq?

Record a YouTube video with a rant?

Sign a petition asking President Obama to take action?


But what action?

I watched a video this morning (Monday) which hit home with me. I shared it on my Facebook page, and you may have seen it there. I think Jonathan Welton, director of Welton Academy, hit the nail on the head.

I would ask you to watch this video. It’s all of 6 minutes, but says so well what is in my heart as I write this.

Jesus makes it so plain for us.

You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.Matthew 5:43-45

This may rock your world, but the word love in this context is – you guessed it – agape (“agapaō”) – the God kind of love. This is 1 Corinthians 13 love. This is John 3:16 love. This is the only kind of love God has, and the only kind of love God requires of us.

In fact this is the very love He commanded us to love Him with.

He commanded us to love ISIS as though they died on the cross for our sins, and buried them in a sea of forgetfulness. He asked us to love ISIS the way to have vowed to love our spouses, our children, our parents, ourselves.

So, perhaps our reaction to ISIS ought not be, blast them into hell, but instead pray them into heaven.

Mr. Welton reminds us of the early church and their prayers for Saul, and the fruit that prayer brought forth.

Perhaps we should call a fast.

Perhaps we should set aside some of our food and luxuries for a time. We can storm heaven for the souls of our enemies, and the lives of our brothers and sisters. We can come boldly before the throne of grace and ask for help in this time of need.

[As an aside – as we love them – pray for them – fast for them – We MUST press our nation to take action to stop these atrocities by what ever means at our disposal. If this sounds like paradox – well – that’s what makes it a difficult – impossible problem. Thankfully we serve the God of the possible.]

What do you say, will you join me?

BN Bio 50Benjamin Nelson is a Jesus Lover, husband, dad, grandfather, worshipper, writer, preacher and almost author. He loves to see people activated in what God has created them to be. You can connect with Ben at Contact: Twitter | Facebook | Blog

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13 replies

  1. Some powerful thoughts here Ben. This is the victory that has overcome the world.

  2. Reblogged this on Lillie-Put and commented:
    The answer is in the prayer closet. Take 6 minutes and watch the video.

  3. Pastor Ben you’ll probably think I’m a heathen. I agree we are to pray for our enemies but praying for ISIS is like praying for Satan to convert. Only a demon possessed person could cut off a toddlers head! I just don’t see these horribly evil people turning from their evil, and yes, all things are possible with God. This is a tough one you’ve brought up here! I’m just not feeling the “love” right now for ISIS.

    • I hear you loud and clear – and no – not heathen at all. I would totally back and force needed on the human front to stop this atrocity, but if we learn anything from the example of Jesus it is that demon possessed men are still men and can be set free.

      The reports i hear and pictures i see turn my stomach, and I pray (along with my prayer for the souls of these men) for our government to take military action to stop it.

      Thanks for lending your voice here Sister Sue.

      • Yes, demon possessed men are still men and can be set free IF THEY DESIRE IT TO BE SO. Jesus doesn’t force them. I know what you’re saying but I just don’t see it happening. There has to be a will for change and they’re just to filled with evil. Doesn’t mean we can’t pray for them. Thanks Ben and bless you.

  4. Thank you , Mr. Ben, for sharing what God has put on your heart to share . . .the reminder to love and pray for our enemies. This might not really apply good to this , but I wanted to share something that a believing Jewish friend in Jerusalem shared with me. Western Christians would come to their fellowship meetings and as they broke into small groups to pray, would start directing the prayers for the enemy. It became a little frustrating. For this was something that was not only spoken in prayer, but already lived out in their daily lives, constantly. My friend felt it became a distraction away from how God was directing them to pray for their nation, leaders and soldiers. I don’t think there is anything wrong with praying for the ISIS or loving them, but I am also sure that those Christians there undergoing persecution are doing that and also living out that. So I want to listen closely to how He wants me to pray, for it may be more for them than for their enemies. God bless you!

    • Thanks Deb – that’s really important. I love your heart for the Middle East. I think it comes straight from Father. Thanks for sharing your heart, and I join you in praying for our brothers and sisters and their families in Iraq.

  5. If you seen your neighbor about to get his head cut off by a man who hates him and hates you, and is coming to your house next to take care of you and your family – what do you do? For me, a greater love is defending the defenseless and helping those in need. Jesus, and no NT writer, ever told anyone to stop serving if they were in the military. We have an obligation to defend people from evil aggression. Yes, we pray, that God will intervene and bring a peaceful solution – but we do it as Nehemiah did with troll in one hand (praying) and the sword in the other.

    • I could not agree with you more Joe. We must act, and I love that you couched that needed action in the terms of “greater love.” The image of Nehemiah’s labor and defense is a good analogy.

      Thanks for weighing in.


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