HIGHLIGHTS OF PART ONE
We learned on April 2, 2015 that 148 Christian students were killed at a college campus in Kenya, some of whom were beheaded. We learned in the same month that another 30 Christians were singled out for massacre in Ethiopia. As with the 21 Coptic Christians, Christians were separated for slaughter from those of other faiths. As with other pogroms by ISIS, many of our leaders will not acknowledge that these Christians were killed by Islamic terrorists or even that it’s Christians who are targeted. Presumably, out of fear to name the enemy, the terrorists often go unidentified (and for other obvious PC reasons), as does the religion of the murdered (PC does not favor the defense of Christians, at present). Imagine if George Washington had refused to state that the enemies of the revolutionaries were the soldiers of King George III of England. Imagine if the faith of almost every signer of every major document upon which America is founded were not a Christian, what would this nation look like, if it still existed?
Part One addressed the extermination of tens of thousands of innocents by ISIS, the justification of these horrors by the Islamic terrorists, and some of what America and the Arab world is presently doing to fight the barbarians.
Let’s address the importance of both loving people and hating evil while responding as righteous men and women. Based on this scriptural foundation, Part Three will offer a plan of action for America.
LOVING PEOPLE AND HATING EVIL
The bible speaks to this conundrum. Let’s first consider that if we cannot separate God’s hatred of evil from His love of people, the answer seems to be that we should fight against evil, as we did in WWII.
We know that God is “one God.” God cannot be divided into parts. For example, we cannot separate God’s justice from His mercy, or His hatred of evil from His love of people. All of God is everywhere. He is indivisible. Therefore, the more God transforms our character into His image, the more we will both love justice and hate evil. Proverbs 8:13 states, “The fear of the Lord [standing in awe of God] is to hate evil.” Many other scriptures state that God’s essence is love. From this essence naturally proceeds hatred of evil. If we love God and the tens of thousands of present day innocent martyrs, we must also hate evil. Psalm 85:10 & 13 states that God’s love, faithfulness, righteousness and peace are inseparable and that His righteousness “goes before him.” Psalm 89:14 combines God’s justice with His righteousness, love, and faithfulness.
Although no one knows what the present policy of America toward worldwide terrorism is (our lack of a clear policy is an embarrassment), the policy seems to be to “contain” evil. This strategy is not aimed at stopping or destroying the threat of the mass murder of millions upon millions. To most Arab nations’ dismay, we are negotiating with Iran that will surely obtain nuclear weapons, right behind the nearly completed rockets that can deliver nuclear bombs to the USA. We have already given Iran what it values most: time; and we have no policy toward Syria, except to renege on our commitments to fight Assad.
If a group of gang-bangers were murdering people in your neighborhood, would you call the police? Romans 13 supports calling the police, as such peacemakers are ultimately appointed by God for our safety. Hebrews 11:34 even speaks of heroes who “waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.” These heroes led the destruction of cultures that sacrificed their children in the fire to gods of wood and stone.
Citing a proverbial saying, Jesus told us to be “wise as serpents and innocent as doves,” (Matthew 10:16), meaning we must discern the poison in the snake while preserving the simplicity of the dove (Adam Clarke). What is called for with ISIS is to not be naïve, regarding the poison of the snake. As Proverbs 4:18 advises, we are to “guard our hearts” with all diligence. And Romans 13 states that our own rulers are established by God to be His representatives who do “not bear the sword for nothing” (vs. 4). Our policemen and, by implication, our armies are for our protection. The Constitution of the United States agrees.
We know that Jesus had the discernment to know when to outwardly love and when to vehemently defend and protect. Christ declared that the converts of the hypocritical religious teachers of His day were “twice the sons of hell” as were they, the teachers, (Matthew 23:15). Christ hated the demons that He cast out. And though He taught us to “turn the other cheek,” when He was struck at His illegal trial, He said, “Why did you strike me” (John 18:23)? Christ was not naïve, nor was he afraid of confrontation.
Because of the evil in the world, in His human form Christ was a “man of sorrows.” Today He weeps for those who suffer at the hands of the terrorists (see Isaiah 63:9). I believe that He even weeps for the terrorists until He finally turns them over to a “reprobate mind” (Romans 1:28), which I believe has been now been done with, at least, most of the terrorists. I’ve seen some former terrorists, now turned Christians, interviewed, allowing that not all terrorists have been turned over to a permanently depraved mindset. At this point, if Christ does not weep for them, we also need not weep.
Therefore, we see that at the same time that Christ loved people, He hated evil. Christ was the most loving and most joyful man that ever lived. He performed His first miracle at a wedding and celebrated life. As the voice of wisdom personified states in Proverbs 8:30-31, so believed Christ: “I was filled with delight day after day, rejoicing always in his presence, rejoicing in his whole world, and delighting in mankind.” Yet He must have spent hours weaving the whip with which he drove the financial schemers out of the temple, as zeal for God’s house “consumed” Him (John 2:15-17). Therefore, it is possible for all of us to continue to celebrate life and the wonders of God’s creation while feeling the pain of God’s oppressed and rendering justice upon those who have inflicted it. Several scriptures speak of evil people falling into the pit that they have dug for others, and Proverbs 1:18 states, “These men lie in wait for their own blood; they waylay only themselves!” If Christians can hasten their doom in order to rescue and protect themselves, all the better. The Old Testament is full of accounts of believing Jews destroying nations that sacrificed children to their false gods. The barbarians are training young children to pull the trigger on innocent captives, as we’ve seen on the news. These children will never even graduate from elementary school, let alone adopt a value system of respect for all people. From a neurological point of view, their brains are literally being wired for murder and little else.
Based on Christ’s love of people and hatred of evil, it is likely that Christ would condone all efforts to stop the murder of innocents. Even if all world events fall into a pattern to bring about end time events or into other unknown purposes of God, because we cannot fully understand the pattern or His purposes, we must live our lives one day at a time and respond to evil as righteous men and women have responded since the world began.
THE RESPONSE OF RIGHTEOUS MEN AND WOMEN
The Apostle Paul said in Philippians 2:9 that we are to love people, but we are to love with wisdom and knowledge, not being naïve. There is a horrific and ultimate destination for evil doers where “the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:48). Clearly, there is also a time and season for all things, a time to kill and a time to heal (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 3).
As alluded to in Part I, in Romans 1:28, the Apostle Paul states that God gave some people over to a “depraved” or “reprobate mind.” In the realm of sin, the atrocious acts that we witness via television are the “end of the line.” The ISIS terrorists who call themselves warriors for Muhammad are evil incarnate and are probably closer to the edge of hell than even Paul could have imagined. All or almost all of them have been given over to a reprobate mind.
Psalm 73:18 speaks of evil people standing on a “slippery slope.” Jesus refers to those who do not build the foundation of their lives on Him as building on “sinking sand” (Matthew 7:26). He also said that way to destruction is a broad road, but the way to eternal life is down a narrow road and through a small gate (Matthew 7:13). The barbarians are traveling down the broad road to eternal destruction.
Peter said that God did not spare from hell the angels that rebelled; nor did He spare the evil people in Noah’s day, nor the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Peter even described false teachers as “brute beasts, creatures of instinct, born only to be caught and destroyed, and like beasts they too will perish” (2 Peter 2). Again, hear this: Peter says that some people are “born to be destroyed.” This from one of Christ’s most devoted and loving disciples. One of the most famous representatives of Christ in the history of the world. A man of love and peace.
Jesus, our loving Lord and Savior, stated that in His time, all sin would be forgiven except “blasphemy against the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 12:31). There are debates about what this sin is, and I have an opinion. But my opinion doesn’t matter in this discussion. Whatever the sin was (or is) could not exceed the sin being committed by the most ruthless barbarians ever known in history, savages that put to death the followers of Christ, Jews, Muslims of slightly different beliefs, and people of any other faith than theirs.
Psalm 1:6 says, “For the Lord knows the way of the godly, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” There is no doubt. Even Jesus and the New Testament that emphasize the grace and love of God speak clearly to the need to combat evil, unless otherwise individually spoken to, as God does speaks to each of us individually, e.g., you may be chosen for martyrdom (John 10:4, 27). For more scriptures that point us to the same conclusion, see Part I.
Innumerable surveys and polls are available on the Internet. A recent ABC News poll concluded that 83% of all Americans identify themselves as Christian. A 2014 Gallup survey stated that 76% identify themselves as Christians. In 2013 80% of Americans thought the bible was “sacred literature” (down from 86% in 2011; 8% thought the Koran was sacred) (Barna study, 2013). Whatever brand of Christianity Americans subscribe to (and there is a wide variety, indeed, with many not attending church), the morality represented by Christian beliefs is still the bedrock of what many would say makes America “good,” in spite of its many flaws. Therefore, one can argue that the response of righteous men and women is dictated by the scriptures already cited.
RESPONDING AS INDIVIDUALS
What about our attitude as individuals? If someone is chosen for martyrdom, God would want us to forgive our murderers, as He forgave His murderers on the cross. Also, consider the relatives of the victims. Will they find inner peace in any other way except through forgiveness? Of course not. Nevertheless, when the killer of their son or daughter is executed or falls in battle, these same relatives might obtain some satisfaction, knowing that God’s justice has been accomplished.
The best course of action in regards to our personal vengeance is to leave it alone. Romans 12:17 says, “Leave room for God’s wrath; vengeance is mine, says the Lord.” If we don’t “leave room” for God’s wrath, but execute our own personal judgment, we risk that God’s judgment may not prevail or, perhaps, will be less severe. This point of view is proposed by Proverbs 24:17, which states, “Do not gloat when your enemy falls; when he stumbles, do not let your heart rejoice, or the Lord will see and disapprove and turn his wrath away from him.” Most of us would prefer that evil doers suffer God’s judgment, rather than our own. Again, on an individual basis, scripture seems to teach forgiveness, along with trust in God. If we trust in God, His justice will be accomplished. Therefore, as individuals we are to forgive our enemies, especially as God supernaturally enables us to do so. I’ve seen relatives of murdered sons and daughters many times speak on the news of forgiveness. This does not discount that some men have been personally called to fight against ISIS, having no affiliation with any nation. In fact, I’ve also seen one such mercenary interviewed on cable news, and I’ve seen ads on the Internet, seeking to recruit mercenaries. See several websites that suggest how you might help to rescue Christians who face starvation and extinction.
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