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?
Benjamin 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 AnotherRedLetterDay.com. Contact: Twitter | Facebook | Blog
Photo credit: journal-neo.org