The state of affairs in the 1st century Middle East mirror those today. ISIS, Hezbollah, and Hamas are the next in the line of evil incarnations of the lust to power.
Rome was the 1st century organization who had their sights set on world domination.
They were terribly violent and accepted no compromise.
It is within that context that Jesus of Nazareth came and the New Testament was written.
Jesus modeled what it was to serve God in an oppressive and violent state.
(This was first posted in November 2014 when Canada joined the war against ISIS. In October 2023 Israel is at war with Hamas, a terrorist religious group.)
4 Christian Responses to Evil
1. Respond with force.
Canadian CF-18’s flew 1000’s of sorties and engaged ISIS ground troops in 2014. Good Canadian men and women responding with force against evil.
As a Christian leader, I fully supported Canada’s participation in “Operation Impact” as a response to ISIS. I wrote Prime Minister Trudeau to reverse his decision on withdrawing our air force.
Jesus is the Prince of Peace but He was not a pacifist.
“Out of His mouth comes a sharp sword with which to strike down the nations. He will rule them with an iron scepter. He treads the winepress of the fury of the wrath of God Almighty.” Revelation 19:15
To let someone murder when it is in your power to stop them is completely contrary to Christian morality. With ISIS on the move and seeking to destroy entire ethnic groups, it seemed clearly wrong not to oppose ISIS with force. Hamas is ISIS.
In October 2023, Israel responded against the atrocities of Hamas in Israel with force in Gaza. Israel’s war is not with Palestinians. It is with Hamas, a terrorist group with no respect for Israelis or Palestinians.
“Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.” Dietrich Bonhoeffer
2. Respond with conviction
Soon after taking over Mosul in 2014, the Islamic State announced that it would destroy all Christian places of worship. Several churches were burned, including the Armenian church near the Al Salam hospital, and the Church of the Holy Spirit, after first being looted and desecrated.
Before ISIS over-ran Mosul, the city was home to one of the oldest Christian communities in the world. There have been Christians in Iraq since the 1st century when two disciples of Jesus brought the gospel there. As recently as 2003 Iraq had 1.5 million Christians.
In 2014 there were less than 100,000 Christians in Iraq. In 2022 estimates showed 150,000 Christians in Iraq.
A balloon didn’t solve the crisis, but it did bring a smile to the face of a child refugee fleeing the terror of ISIS.
Deborah Erickson, Executive Director of Restore International knows this first hand after traveling to northeastern Iraq. Bob Goff, started Restore International in 2003 to fight for freedom and human rights, work to improve educational opportunities, and try to be helpful to those in need of a voice and a friend..
In Northern Iraq, they defied danger and delivered balloons and a message of hope and love.
Azalea Lehndorff is one of my heroes. She is a Canadian young adult from Central Alberta who fought back against the terror of the Taliban by building 100 classrooms for girls in Afghanistan.
Azalea understood completely the magnitude of her task.
“When I was coming home from Afghanistan I felt like 100 classrooms would not even begin to meet the need. I prayed for a sign of hope for the future. Almost instantly I saw a rainbow over Kabul. When I was flying into Kabul I saw a child flying a kite. Under Taliban rule that was against the law. I know I need to keep going; to get the word out.”
Voice of the Martyrs is a well established ministry for many years with excellent resources and contacts throughout the Middle East and is entirely reputable.
4. Pray… speak up… stand up against evil
ISIS or Hamas, or Hezbollah. You are not powerless in the face of evil.
by name for the hostages in Gaza.
for the peace of Jerusalem.
for Palestinians, especially children, trapped in Gaza.
Please leave a comment below. Thank you.
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