the last few weeks, bombs targeted at innocent civilians have been
exploded in London and the Egyptian seaside resort town of Sharm-el-Sheikh.
Hundreds were killed, maimed or wounded by shrapnel, or by glass
splinters which are invisible to X-ray machines and hence very difficult
to find and remove. The
terrorists did not care who was hit: Londoners or tourists, women or
children, Christians or Jews or Buddhists or Hindus or Muslims.
How should we Christians react to such acts of indiscriminate,
natural, instinctive, human reaction is one of horror and condemnation,
with a silent cry that those who planned and executed the bombings be
caught and brought to justice. But
what does the Bible say to guide us through such times?
Theologians are better qualified to make detailed and profound
studies on this subject. I
merely wish to share a few Bible verses that may be helpful, and some
thoughts which seem relevant.
is no stranger to the Bible, which records many follies and sins of Man
through historical accounts, stories, parables and even poems.
The great King David expressed in poetry:
that not our own heart’s silent cry?
For we know that God is our only real defender, our shield
against violence and harm. Truly,
we should run to Him for protection, and for an end to the violence of
are two other interesting points in David’s cry to God.
The first has to do with God searching minds and hearts.
Whose minds and hearts? David
lived a long time before Christ came down to become a supreme Sacrifice
that takes away the sins of those who believe in him.
For these repentant and cleansed people, “a righteousness from
God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the
Prophets testify. This
righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who
believe …. God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through
faith in his blood.” [Romans 3:21-25].
The important words here are “believe” and “faith”.
So, God searches the minds and hearts of Christians, and we
therefore need to take a rain check to see if we truly believe and have
true faith in Jesus and the atoning power of his blood.
But does God not look into the minds and hearts of everyone else?
Most assuredly, He does. And
He sees the wickedness and evil there.
God abhors wickedness, and violence.
second point is that “minds and hearts” reminds us that the battle
against the terrorists is not just physical; some believe it is simply a
matter of “taking out” the “perpetrators”.
It is not. It is more
a battle for the minds and hearts of the people who sympathize with the
small number of terrorists who commit acts of violence.
This is obviously a job for governments and world organizations.
But is there some small way in which we can help stop the
We can build bridges of understanding.
We have first to understand the views and the feelings of others.
Only when we have clearly understood can we begin to think of how
to pray for these people, and how to tell them in the gentlest way
possible about the way of love and peace.
when we engage people of other races and religions in discussions, we
should not be confrontational or “preachy”.
Some are quick to pull out a Bible and quote chapter and verse;
this is counter-productive and self-defeating.
Did Jesus pull out a Bible when he talked to people?
When he quoted from Scripture, did he tell where the verses came
from? So why should we?
of whatever race, language, religion or nationality, operate on the
doctrine of hate. The
antidote for this is the Way of Love that Jesus teaches:
Love God with all your heart, mind and soul; and love your
neighbour as yourself. But
even more eye-opening and revolutionary is Jesus’ instructions on a
third kind of love:
way of the terrorists is to hate their enemies, do evil to those who
hate them, and curse those who curse them.
If they think about their enemies when they pray, it is probably
to call for bad things to happen to them.
Those who are perceived as mistreating them or their people, or
who commit the terrible crime of being friends of their enemies, are to
be killed in any way possible. We
saw assassinations and bombings during the Malayan Emergency, and almost
weekly bombings during the Confrontation.
As the wise Solomon said in his book “Ecclesiastes”, there is
nothing new under the sun.
your enemies”, how hard it is for the terrorists to do this.
But is it hard for us too? How
do we do this? Jesus told
the Parable of the Good Samaritan, which gives us a practical way to
love our enemies. The
Samaritan came across a badly beaten Judean man lying on the road.
Hold it, weren’t the Samaritans and Judeans at religious
loggerheads and virtually enemies? Yet
the Samaritan stopped to clean and bind the wounds of the Judean,
hoisted him on his donkey, took him to an inn, a place of safety and
recuperation, and even paid for his stay there.
This parable was given to us as an example of what we can do
today. If we come upon
people who are injured, as in a bomb blast, we are to render first aid,
assist the victims in whatever way we can, and at the least, call for an
ambulance to transport them to hospital – even if we come across a
terrorist, or someone of a different race or religion.
The Way of Love is definitely more difficult than the way of
hate. But ultimately love
triumphs over hate.
showed us the truth of this in ways great and small.
One small way: he had
a disciple called Simon the Zealot; the Zealots were fanatical Jews who
sought the overthrow of Roman rule over Israel, by violent means.
They were very much like the Al Qaeda terrorists of today.
Simon was either a Zealot terrorist or he behaved like one.
And yet Jesus won him over to his Way of Love, through love.
to everyone who asks you,” Jesus said in Luke 6:30.
“Everyone” means irrespective of race, language, religion or
nationality. Should we shun
a whole race because a few of them are terrorists?
When was the last time you gave freely to someone who was of a
different race, language, religion or nationality than yours, someone
who needed something, or help, and asked for it?
But how can he ask for it if you were not close to him, or better
still, a friend? “Do to
others as you would have them do to you,” Jesus taught [Luke 6:31],
and that means the first friendly move, the first kindly move, must come
sharing what we have with people different from us, and doing to them
what we would have them do to us, we would be building bridges to them.
We would come to know and understand them better.
As we become friends, it would make us all safer, for it is hard
for someone to kill a friend who loves you.
easiest thing, and perhaps the hardest thing, is to obey Jesus’ call
to pray for our enemies, for they want to do us harm.
They feel that they are in the right and that they are the
righteous. Those who are not
with them are of no account and can be blasted from the face of this
earth. Perhaps we may not be
able to change them, but God certainly can.
God can make our enemies our friends. Pray.
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