We recently witnessed another terrorist attack in Great Britain. The attacker went into a concert venue and blew himself up. The bomb killed many people, including children, making this an especially terrible attack. Who could have imagined people having so much hatred that they would employ such evil killing tactics? The news is always careful not to call anything a terrorist act, unless it can be tied to a terrorist organization, but terrorism should not require a connection to be labeled what it is. What the news calls a “lone wolf” attack should be considered more foreboding. If individual Muslims are going to begin to carry out such horrendous attacks without the encouragement and support of an organization, then anyone has the potential to face imminent danger on a regular basis. When watching the news recently, my wife commented to me about a significant act of terrorism in Afghanistan. I thought, wow, we invaded Afghanistan over 15 years ago to get the terrorists of 9.11 and we are still facing this unrelenting enemy.
Recently, I was reading a book where the author was stirring up fears of radical Islam in America, and all the nations of the world; it can be a scary thought for sure. However, I believe that the greatest danger our country faces is the church of Jesus Christ not living up to our responsibility. In Matthew 5 Jesus said, “…let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. He also said you are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses it flavor, how shall it be seasoned?” As Christians, there is much in the public debate we can join; however, we must understand that even if we are unable to change the world, we can preserve our land by our witness through our lifestyle and proclamation. In a world of “selfies” and self-centered preoccupation, we must be aware of God’s love for the world as much as His love for us—“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” Right?
It is with His love in our mind that we survey our world, being careful to not make enemies of sinners, but see them as the prize for the Kingdom of God. Does God love the Muslim world? Their radicalized beliefs make them enemies of the church, and of the Jews in the Middle East, but we must still remember the words of Jesus Christ. Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same?” Matthew 5:43-46
The book of Romans declares that the earth is groaning for the manifestation of the sons of God in the earth. What will these sons do? I believe our purpose is the same as the firstborn Son: Jesus. He was “the firstborn of many brethren.” You and I have an eternal purpose given to us by God, who chose us in Christ before the foundation of the World. We are called like Jesus Christ to bring honor to our heavenly Father! How will we fulfill this purpose? We must believe that we are also God’s gift sent to our world—to shine the Fathers light, and live out the character of our Father to our generation. I wrote a book a few years ago about this subject titled, Finding Your Place in God’s Eternal Purpose. I would encourage everyone to read it so that we can understand our eternal purpose. These are perilous times, but we are still God’s answer to a broken and dysfunctional world!