#TalkingThursday – If you don’t talk about Jesus who will?
Dear reader, Hello! Today’s #TalkingThursday concerns a bunch of touchy subjects everyone is talking about and the lines are clearly divided. The media has an agenda, liberals have an agenda, everybody has an agenda! I will try to keep this post as short as possible without missing out on anything I consider very important and there will be plenty of sublinks.
There’s an Us vs Them mentality going on right now that ignores a lot of the context surrounding the real events and how they occurred. Anyways, we aren’t focused on the political stuff here,
(and as christians I don’t think we should be) our focus is on providing a response to what we see going on in our world right now.
Death is suddenly real. Several questions about evil abound in the face of unimaginable violence. So what do we do about it, what do we say about it and what does what we say, say about us and our faith? Today, we’re looking at responding to these events on three fronts.
What’s the christian response?
A – To ISIS
B – To The Refugee Crisis
C – To Closing Borders
When it comes to ISIS and the refugee crisis, it is boldly clear what we have to do as christians, though some may not realise it initially but all the lines are blurred once we approach the issue of border control. Since #TalkingThursday is about discussing issues, I can’t promise a solution, just a thorough rundown of the matters arising.
RESPONDING TO ISIS
I saw a comment on a post somewhere that I thought we should all be made aware of:
The explicit goal of ISIS is to usher in the apocalypse per their interpretation of Islamic texts.
ISIS isn’t trying to weed out Christianity. That is a byproduct of their stated goal, not the end goal itself. And, may I also ask, how do we expect Muslims to stand with us when we refuse to acknowledge their suffering at the hands of ISIS too?
When we turn an issue like this into an “us” vs. “them” battle (us being Christians, them being ISIS), we play into the hands of the terrorists because we divide ourselves from others rather than unifying in peace.
May all of those suffering at the hands of ISIS – be they Christian, Muslim, Yazidi, or anything else – be protected by the hand of God, and may we wage peace on their behalf.
So, in light of this, I would say the christian response to the actions of ISIS is to:
Stand With Muslims; They Are Victims Too
Christians cannot perceive all Muslims as extremists any more than we can see all Christians as crusaders. Now is the time for us to stand hand-in-hand with the Muslim community.
But how do we stand with them when they refute the divinity of Jesus or have an antichrist spirit?
Here’s a nice comment on that:
As we engage Muslims, we do not want, nor should we seek, to pretend that we are on the same path. We should not pretend that our dialogue will help us figure out that we were just misunderstanding one another all along. We aren’t— Evangelicals and Muslims both want to convert one another, but since that work is not yet done, the world needs moderate Muslims to make the world safer for both of our faiths. I will continue to pray for that, and while I do so I will continue to love my Muslim neighbors, while always seeking to reach them with the gospel that saves.
There is a distinction between inter-faith cooperation and multi-faith understanding. Christians don’t have to agree with muslim theology to stand with them. As christians we must realise that all people need Jesus so these are some of the very people Jesus died for. This is not a time to call for a war with Islam or see muslims as the enemy.
Many people make decisions about a group based on what they see on television news – and that’s a bad place to make sweeping conclusions. The worst of a group hardly ever represents the entire group.
Amidst these horrifying events, the world is looking at the actions of christians everywhere, now is the time to minister and share the gospel through our actions of love not hate.
In Egypt, repeated incidents occur of muslims locking hands and surrounding christian churches in order to keep the mobs from attacking. In fact, the president of Egypt (A Muslim) has ordered a Christian church built in honor of the Coptic martyrs.
This is the kind of unity that must be seen in our communities, not hate and harassment. We must wage a war of peace. ISIS is trying to create a divide in our communities by placing fear and hate in our hearts, we must not succumb to this scare tactic. The way we treat muslims should not change because of the actions of ISIS. We should not take our anger out at ISIS or on muslims in our neighbourhoods. Scripture says perfect love casts out fear, so let’s keep walking in this perfect love and keep spreading this love to everyone we meet.
Here’s another comment:
There are times in our world when Christianity is put on display and this is one of them. In the American world the first response to an immense threat like ISIS is retaliation. It’s understandable because in some sense it is logical.
However, this is not the way of the Kingdom of God. Don’t get me wrong, this is so difficult (even for me personally) to wrap our lives around but the Jesus way of treating enemies is love. When God’s enemies were out to kill him, he said “Father, forgive them”. So, in that context we have a very dangerous and high calling, but I think we can start by praying for ISIS.
Pray, Pray & Keep On Praying!
As Christians, we often react to the killing of our fellow brethren by saying “Well, God promised us persecution, all this is probably God’s will.” This makes us embrace suffering and trust God in it which is a good thing, but it also makes us uninspired to stop and pray about it.
The Bible teaches us to live both realities. We should embrace the fact that suffering and martyrdom are inevitable but we must also cry out for justice in our prayers and fight to rescue those whose lives are threatened because of their faith in Jesus Christ.
Our fellow Christians need our prayers for their protection and perseverance. This isn’t a season for our churches to dedicate one sunday to the persecuted church. This is a time for churches to dedicate every sunday to the persecuted church.
We must also pray for ISIS themselves, pray that God’s justice will be upon them. Pray that salvation will reach them and God will turn their hearts away from this evil.
Also spend some time each day praying for the victims of ISIS, christian and non-christian alike.
Responding To The Refugee Crisis
We’re having a huge surge of refugees in various countries all over the world. Most of them will be experiencing severe culture shock and just looking for a second lease on life, looking for someone to give them a chance. In light of the discovery that one of the suicide bombers travelled along with the refugees, our fears will be spiralling and our hearts may be closed off to the plight of these people but we must fight our selfish nature and be more compassionate.
We know not to judge people by the color of their skin, their ethnicity, or their religious beliefs. Not all Italians are members of the mafia, not all Irish are criminals, not all muslims are terrorists. We can’t fall into the trap of stereotyping entire groups of people.
Here’s a comment that really stuck with me:
Romans 12:18 — “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.”
John 13…. What did Jesus do knowing that Judas was about to betray Him to death on a cross?
He washed his feet!
He shared in the passover with him.
He loved him anyway.
This is what changed my mind about this situation. If I am to be more and more like Jesus, then I must love, serve and care for all even if they are intent on killing me.
This is radically different from my political view of things. But I ask my self, whom do I serve first? My country or my Lord?
Now that that’s been said, I’ll let these bible verses do the rest of the talking.
Love Refugees As Yourself
For the whole law can be summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
— Galatians 5:14 (NLT)
Do not take advantage of foreigners who live among you in your land. Treat them like native-born Israelites, and love them as you love yourself. Remember that you were once foreigners living in the land of Egypt. I am the LORD your God.
— Leviticus 19:33-34 (NLT)
Do Not Oppress a Foreigner
You must not oppress foreigners. You know what it’s like to be a foreigner, for you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt.
— Exodus 23:9 (NLT)
Invite the Stranger In
‘For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’ “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’
— Matthew 25:35-40 (NLT)
It’s quite clear from these bible verses that we are supposed to help and welcome these refugees to the best of our ability! One of the simplest ways to help is to support organizations that provide humanitarian assistance to ISIS victims. If these brothers and sisters die for lack of food or shelter, then ISIS still wins and we haven’t done our jobs as christians. If you realistically can send help, please do!
*** I've made a list of places one can send money or anything you're not using like old winter coats, socks, sanitary pads etc. Click on the links to find out more about each organisation.*** World Relief Migrant Offshore Aid Station Médecins Sans Frontières Aylan Kurdi Fund Refugee Council: £100 Unicef: £9 Save the Children: £50 British Red Cross: £30 Islamic Relief: £210 (per family) Just Giving: Trying to raise £750 UNHCR Refugee Action Jungle Books: Collects Book Donations Calais Action: Anything You can
Next week, we’ll be looking at responding to the border control solution.