This is a short reflection upon the recent attacks in Paris, France. We are still mourning the loss of many lives, and hearts are broken around the world. We pray for the victims' families, and for those who are experiencing the loss of a loved one in this tragic display of hatred, acted out by a group called ISIS.
Are you praying for ISIS?
Your answer may be, "Why would I want to do that?" Many people watch the news and see the terror they are causing around the world, and the last thing on their mind is to pray for ISIS. The thought is, they are the enemy - which is exactly true. ISIS is an enemy to all who desire peace in the world, they are an enemy of the gospel, and they are an enemy of Jesus Christ. But, it is He who said, "Love your enemies, and pray for those who persecute you." Matthew 5:44 If you are a Christian, don't forget these words. If we are followers of Christ, then we will obey Him. There is a lot of hate being spewed on the Internet; Christians should remember the words of their Master.
In addition to prayer, what else can we do?
Terrorism is real, terrorism is prevalent, and terrorism is on the rise. How do we fix this problem? The answer is yet again: the gospel! Yes, there are certian military actions that we must take, as retaliation has already begun, but will those actions provide an ultimate solution? Many strategies to prevent terrorism from happening again, are like putting a band-aid on a broken leg. We have a systemic problem - a very deep rooted issue. It's called sin. Until the hearts and minds of men and women experience a radical change, terroristic acts like the one that took place in Paris will continue to happen.
What can we do? Preach the gospel! You might say, "Me?" Yes. Don't think... "What can I do? I work in an office, or in a factory, or I'm a home-schooling mom, I don't have any influence over what goes on in the world." Not true. If Christians all around the globe would simply obey their Savior's command to go and make disciples, wouldn't that have a dramatic influence on this world?
Here's the question that I asked myself...What can I do? Emphasis on the word "I". What can I, Mike Bongo, do? I can watch endless hours of Fox News, or CNBC and become addicted to all of the coverage. That doesn't help at all. I can gripe about it. I can give my opinion. I can talk about how this world is going to hell in a handbasket...or I can do something that is actually helpful, and meaningful. I can use this opportinity to talk with my family, friends, co-workers, and strangers about the One who has overcome the world. I can talk with them about the One who will put an end to evil once and for all when he puts His enemies under His feet. Let's not simply complain about the situation, and lament the current state of this world, let's do something! Let 's put some legs to our grief, and our anger, and not waste this opportunity to share the gospel of peace.
If the answer is the gospel, are you preaching it? If the solution to a wicked heart, is the One who changes hearts, are you telling people about Him? Are we sharing the good news that Jesus Christ can cleanse you, and that He can change you? If you are a Christian, you should know what God has done in your life. You should be reading the Bible. You should be sitting under good teaching, so that you can take the light of Christ into this dark world.
Think about Jihadi John. A couple of days ago I saw a picture of him as a young boy. I couldn't help asking these questions, "Did anyone ever tell him about Jesus? Were there any Christians around him as a young boy? Did anyone ever share the gospel with him?" That is the ultimate solution - the gospel. It's not easy, and it's not a quick fix, but it is the only real answer to change hate-filled wicked hearts. When the gospel is preached, and God saves sinners, that's when transformation takes place. People who hate, then become people who love. The only hope for this world is found in Christ.
Have you shared the gospel with someone today? If not, will you do it tomorrow, next week, next year, ever?