It was at the thought of such evil swallowing a person whole that caused me to cry. How could such evil win? Our news feeds are cluttered with the dark and disturbing tales of death, execution, and people running for their lives. Fear strikes the heart of the refugee, the political activist and the readers a like. The fact that so many have lost their lives is painful to watch. It is painful to observe people, who had very little felt choice in the matter, being forced by evil, into lives that I’m not sure, with out the evil, they would have chosen.
This is why I cry for ISIS. This is why I long for them to know salvation. The new Islamic State has an assumed 15,000 members. They are isolated. Muslims, Jews, and Christians alike are threatened by this group. They have been swallowed by such evil that in their minds, they are doing what is right.
While most cry for those terrorized by such evil, I cry for the terrorist and the terrorize, for both have been swallowed by evil.
Before Jesus, the terrorist and the terrorized, the abuser and the abused, the thief and the victim, the pastor and the congregant, the learned and the uninformed, the rich and the poor are loved equally.
Before Jesus there is no love differentiation between His love for me and His love for the man who beheaded the American Journalist. This is not an easy truth to understand or one to which I’ve easily arrived. It is one that has come as I’ve pursued Jesus. His love is beyond my comprehension and if His love is not based on behavior, than no person is ever less valuable or lovable than another. Period. No questions asked.
Jesus doesn’t play favorites. He longs for all to come to relationship with Him. His heart must ache for the 15,000 individuals who have chosen to live out of such evil. His heart must long for each man to turn to Him and walk in a new way. He must desire for all to know Him, for he is truly the only way, truth and life source.
The only way that groups like ISIS will ever know defeat is if they are transformed by the most powerful love ever known. The only way that the sexual offender will ever change, is if he is brought to his knees, overwhelmed by a love that is bigger than his horrific offense. The only way the self righteous judging religious person will every know grace is if her life is met by the life altering love of her very good King.
My heart aches. The darkness of this world can at times feel suffocating. It often feels as though it will sweep over every person, like ash from a volcanic eruption. I’m astonished by the evil acts capable by human hands. I’m horrified that a person could perpetrate such acts against any other living thing, against a fellow man or woman created in the image of God. And, my hands shake, my eyes fill with tears and I cry a lament to the Lord for the souls of those so distant from Jesus, that these acts are justified.
Lord have mercy.
Come and save us. Every single one. May you transform your people to long for your rescue for every man and woman who was created in your image. May your grace meet me in my judgement and transform me to love, not with words alone, but in deed. May I not stop praying and loving, all people, at all times, for all people are loved equally.
Transform us by roots that are deeply embedded in your love for us and make us new.
Make us vigilant in our prayers.
Make us passionate in our love.
Make us humble in our offerings.
Make us peaceable in our living.
Make us holy in our pursuits.
Make us generous in our kindness.
Make us quick in our grace and restraint from our judgment.
Make us quick to listen and slow to speak.
Make us slow to become angry.
Make us be ones who hope.
Make us be ones who trust.
Make us be ones who persevere.
Make us kind in the midst of anger.
Make us patient in the face of inconvenience.
Make us do good in response to evil.
Make us turn the other cheek.
Make us Lord Jesus, to live and love for you first loved me… you loved us.
Lord save the terrorized.