Terrorist attacks. Mass shootings. Persecution. Refugees. What comes to mind when you hear these words? Do you see images of armed, masked men? Chaotic crowds fleeing their homes in search of safety? How do you feel? Anxious or perhaps dismayed? Main stream media has been overwhelmingly flooded with illustrations of hopelessness and fear in recent weeks as it broadcasted multiple stories of insurgent attacks around the world. I was heartbroken and angered at the response of those who called themselves Christians as these devastating events unfolded. Political leaders and their supporters, identifying themselves as Christians, angrily declared that refugees seeking asylum should not be let into this country. Social media posts flooded my timeline in support of this view. Am I crazy or has the definition of a Christian changed?
See, I thought the definition of a Christian was someone who believed in and followed the teaching of Jesus Christ. Jesus, the one who said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” You know Jesus, the one who declared, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.” The Jesus that asserted, “Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you shall be your servant. And whoever of you desires to be first shall be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” The Jesus I follow made the following statement that brings tears to my eyes and humbles my heart every time I read it. He said, “For I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” That’s the Jesus I know. That’s the Jesus I am committed to.
The Jesus I follow as a Christian would have me readily accept those that are being persecuted. After all, were not the first Christians heavily persecuted and are they not still being persecuted today? Is it possible that our own doors could be kicked in, our towns raided, and we displaced from our homes? Could our lives be changed in an instant? Does the history of our nation not teach us this or have the events of the past been forgotten? It could be me or even you tomorrow, next month, or next year.
I refuse to let terrorists win by paralyzing me with fear or silencing my voice. Will the REAL Christians please, stand up! Christians believe in the power of God. They are called to be salt and light. They are called to serve others. But most of all they are called to love. We are the body of Christ, the hands and feet that bring good news and hope to those in need. The world is watching us. Are we accurately reflecting the teachings of Christ in our speech and actions? If so will the REAL Christians, please stand up!
Join me in prayer:
Father, in times of chaos and unrest we fix our eyes and hearts upon You. Be our peace and calm our fears that we might hear Your Spirit speak clearly to us. May we respond with obedience to the instructions You give us. Endow us with courage to stand up for those who are being unjustly persecuted. Forgive us for taking the freedoms and daily pleasures we enjoy for granted. Now open our eyes to see others as humans, as brothers and sisters in need. Help us to see others as You see them, even as You see us. Teach us how to love them and show them sincere love. May we be selfless and use our resources to bring them comfort in this season of despair. Use us to bring hope and restore joy where terror has brought fear. In Jesus’ name I pray, amen.
Scriptures taken from the NKJV Bible.