I can’t think of a time in my lifetime when more unthinkable atrocities were being committed in more places throughout the world. Every day, bloodshed escalates. Our world is rocked by violence. Ukraine and Russia. Israel and Hamas. ISIS in Iraq. Syria. Nigeria.
We shouldn’t be surprised by this. “In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.” II Timothy 3:12 (emphasis mine)
But we should be horrified.
Even in our comfortable suburban homes, where our “persecution” is slight, we can stand up and fight on behalf of the tortured men, raped women, and beheaded children. How?
It’s hard to not turn away from the ugly reality of what’s happening, but we must resist the urge. We need to look evil straight in the eye and expose the hideous crimes. We can also fight by refusing to become filled with hate like the terrorists are, but instead reflecting the love and life of Jesus Christ. We can wage the most important battle of all against the enemy on our knees. This blog by Lori Roeleveld says it all.
Another way we can help is to join in raising awareness through social media. Change your profile picture on facebook or twitter as a sign of solidarity with Iraqi Christians to the one shown here, the Arabic letter “N.” I changed mine. The “N” stands for “Nasrani” or Nazarene (Christian). ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) spray-painted the letter in red on Christians’ homes to mark them out for attack. (I’m reminded of the Israelites’ door frames marked by the red blood of the lamb in Eqypt of old.) These are the same terrorists who stormed through Syria unhindered and now are on a rampage of violence in Iraq. They gave the Christians and Yazidis a choice: convert to Islam, pay a high tax, or die. Most fled, on foot, without any belongings. They are trapped on top of a barren mountain without food or water. Scores of children have already died.
Christianity Today published a letter from an Iraqi believer thanking people for their solidarity.
Another article by the Anglican Communion News Service quotes ISIS as claiming “we can do anything now the world is just looking at Gaza.” The Anglican Vicar of Baghdad (Canon Andrew White) said, “It is as if hell has broken out here and nobody cares.”
Show you care. Join me in the battle using our indestructible weapon of prayer to the Lord of Lords.
This weekend, my daily reading in God’s timeless Word took me to II Timothy 2, relevant as always for today. Paul writes about suffering for the gospel to the point of being chained like a criminal. Then he offers us hope.
“But God’s Word is not chained.”