Recent ISIS atrocities in the Middle East have left some disgusted, doubting and despairing. They are all legitimate reactions but perhaps ones which should also be directed at us, not just others. As a human family, we share more in common than we don’t. But that’s also the good news because it means we all share the same hope for such evils.
And desperately wicked;
Who can know it?”
Firstly, let’s acknowledge our shared reality: There but by the grace of God go we. It is sin which drives this and it is sin that we all have in common.
There are two victims in these atrocities – those brutalised by them and those who were brutalised enough in their hearts, minds and spirits to think that such acts are not only permissible but honourable. This does not take away from the latter’s responsibility but it fully recognises the reality of their desperate need for The Saviour.
All the more reason to be in awe of Amazing Grace. All the more reason to spread Amazing Grace.
The horrendous nature of the reports make them hard to believe. Areas under such twisted and harsh oppression are by definition hard ones to get information out of, especially with the infrastructure destruction war brings. That doesn’t help. And it certainly isn’t helped by mainstream media’s reluctance and perhaps deliberate silence over the matter (this is a fact, just look at their silence over the topics of abortion and marriage).
Islamic State’s track record of atrocities are there to be seen (literally) and their chief spokesman, Sheikh Abu Muhammad al-Adnani certainly leaves no room for doubting the possibility of these latest acts. Among other things, he has written..
“We will conquer your Rome, break your crosses, and enslave your women….If we do not reach that time, then our children and grandchildren will reach it, and they will sell your sons as slaves at the slave market.”
Prayer has and will always be our unique and best weapon. But like any weapon, we must be trained on how to handle it effectively. We must never view it as an action of last resort. It should be the first weapon to be taken up and never to be put down. Not until it is no longer needed when we see finally see God face to face.
Pray for the victims, including the perpetrators. Remember, Paul was instrumental in the death of the first Christian martyr.
The many who find these accounts heinous are themselves witnesses to the power of the gospel for their minds have been graced by the cultures they grew up in which themselves were renewed by God.
God can and does turn history around. Just look at The Cross – not only is it the power and symbol which turned history but was itself an instrument of a world power which thought it a reasonable means to deliver justice.
2 Timothy 1:7
God has not given us a spirit of fear.
Where truth is spoken, there is still hope. As evidenced by those who are resisting in the Middle East under physical pain and those in America under legal pain.
These are saints of which this world is not worthy, bearing trials with a courage and heroism beyond words.
Most will not undergo trials of such extremes but through trials all of us will go. Martyrs are witnesses and may we be witnesses of The Truth and thereby pointers to The Hope. Please speak out hope wherever you are.
“And what more shall I say? For the time would fail me to tell of Gideon and Barak and Samson and Jephthah, also of David and Samuel and the prophets: who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to flight the armies of the aliens. Women received their dead raised to life again.
Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented — of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth.
And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.”