President Obama, at a recent prayer breakfast, was talking about terrorist atrocities in the Middle East. The most recent attack was the ISIS-led killing of a Jordanian air force pilot who was burned alive. I can’t think of a more horrible act of murder than that. In 2001, we witnessed this same fate for those trapped in the twin towers, literally jumping to their deaths from the upper floors to avoid being burned to death. The horrific nature of being burned alive propelled normal, sensible people to literally choose jumping out windows! Unfortunately, the President also compared this to atrocities that Christians committed in the Crusades so it would not appear that he was singling out Muslims. The motivation behind the comment was that we couldn’t single out Islam as a violent religion so we put the blame on all religions. This is the attitude of the media elites and many in circles of power who will not say anything bad about Muslims, but will repeatedly point out flaws of Christians. Interestingly, Bill Maher, who is a well-known liberal with a show on HBO, commented that he could never imagine Christianity motivating someone to perform acts of terror. He said this even though he is an atheist himself. When he made this statement he was highly criticized by his peers. He still defends the fact that although Christians seem to be the opposition to a lot of liberal ideas, they don’t take up violence as an alternative when confronted with opposition. I am glad someone is willing to be honest enough to acknowledge the true nature of Christianity. Although Christians may do bad things, it is not endorsed by our scripture. In Matthew 26, Jesus was very clear: “he who lives by the sword will die by the sword.”
Jesus is not the king of war, He is the Prince of Peace!
It’s time to Arise and Shine!
Although the level of violence is different, one must acknowledge the severity of life in Saudi Arabia, an ally of the U.S., because of the demands of the Koran. In recent times, a liberal blogger in that country was sentenced to prison, fined for speaking against the prophet Mohammed, and received 1,000 lashes with a cane. These lashes would take place weekly with 50 lashes each time. After one round of lashing, the doctors examined him and said it would kill him. Human rights activists throughout the world volunteered to take his lashes. The Saudi government only delayed the lashes until he could complete his sentence. Of course, beheadings and other tortures are part of the Saudi system based upon the Koran, which is their scripture. The message of our scripture is that our Savior was willing to take lashing, ridicule, torture, and even death for our mistakes. Aren’t you glad you are a follower of Christ? If you are, we should know this is the time to lift up our voices to declare the beauty of our message and to live that message before our world. I sympathize with the president’s efforts to extend a gesture of peace to the Muslim world, but we should never do so by comparing it to the message of Christianity.
As Christians, we also must remember we don’t need to make Islam our enemy. As Christians, we need to know that Jesus Christ defeated our enemy at the cross. We also need to remember the admonition of the prophet in Isaiah 60: “When darkness covers the earth and gross darkness the people,” this is our time to “Arise and shine for the glory of the Lord will be seen on us.”
I know we can get frustrated with the world we live in, but Jesus is calling us to a higher level of faith! Will you take a moment right now to remind yourself that Jesus has won and we are on the side of victory? What can you do to declare the beauty of Christ every day to a dying world?