Almost every week, it seems like we are hearing about how ISIS or someone is massacring people all over the globe. We've heard such stories from Turkey (even at New Years celebrations), Baghdad, Berlin, and so many other places being bombed, shot to pieces, and in other ways devastated by ISIS. The other day, I read just the headline of the Istanbul New Year's Eve nightclub shooting and couldn't help but think, "Wow, those people didn't even know what hit them." Especially not when your murderer is dressed in a Santa Claus suit.
I would say quite a few people who read the seemingly constant flow of articles about such massacres enacted by ISIS and/or Islamic terrorists (is there a difference? I don't know) feel angry. One glance at the comments section of any news site reporting such instances is enough to convince one that the majority of people would love to see these terrorists literally hanged/shot/beheaded/whatever the preferred punishment may be. People have a right to be angry--after all, who gets to decide who lives and dies all in the name of religion, infidels, and "Paradise"?
Who gets to decide that tonight is your last night?
One of the things I find disturbing is when people and animals die afraid. I don't know what it is, but it bothers me beyond words. I wouldn't want anyone to die afraid.
You don't want people to die that way.
But yet one of the first things people reach for whenever their hearts are hit by such a terrible thing, is revenge. Anger. Retaliation. Justice.
We want justice. We all desire justice. It's ingrained into us.
Nobody wants to hear that their daughter, their son, their cousins, or even other innocent people were slaughtered because someone wanted to go to "Paradise" and because someone wanted to further the reach of ISIS.
How should we respond? How do we stop these people from doing horrific acts at the expense of others? Do we spend money on fighter jets and blow up cities because "there might be an ISIS group hidden in the city"? What about those people that are not a part of ISIS or are captured by ISIS and are waiting to be rescued? Is their only rescue to be bombed to pieces by bombs they didn't even know were coming? How is that justice?
Make no mistake when you read what I am saying:
I am not an ISIS or Islam apologist.
I am not okay with the bad things that both groups (separate or not) are doing in any way, shape, or form.
I would like to propose that the way to stop ISIS in its tracks is not bombing citizens (whether guilty or not), sending our troops into known ISIS camps to shoot everyone to pieces, or to tell your president (or prime minister or whoever is put in charge of a nation) what to do about it on Twitter. I would like to suggest that one of the main reasons why so many Muslims feel okay with murdering people is because of the intense hatred they are taught often from childhood and because of the demands of the Quran to fight those deemed infidels and kill such infidels.
I would like to propose to you that the way to defeat ISIS is an option ignored by most of us. In the natural realm, it may seem as the most weak and undignified way of fighting.
I would like to suggest that in the darkest places in the world where prostitution, sexual abuse, alcoholism, modern-day slavery, abortion, and such things exist that the chance for things to change is enormous. Where people say, "There is no way to change this situation, it is hopeless," that is where the biggest giants need to be felled. Instead of turning away in disgust, anger, or whatever you feel when thinking of these things, maybe we should inflict the enemy with the prayers of warriors on their knees.
"... The prayer of a righteous person has great effectiveness." James 5:16b NET
Suppose we stop saying that ISIS cannot be stopped, suppose we stop giving into the spirit of fear when we see what is happening that is so wrong on this earth. Suppose we open our mouths and release the heart of God into this earth by praying for those who persecute, who murder, rape, and enslave.
"Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love its use will eat its fruit." Proverbs 18:21 NET
Is it an easy thing to pray for these people who are unrepentant and hell-bent on destroying people? No, not always. But when you realize the great gift of salvation you've been given, the sweet mercy of Jesus, and the relentless grace of a King who loves you, you realize that you didn't deserve it either. None of us deserve it.
The power that is in your mouth when you speak life into the atmosphere is real. It has the power to save people from suicide. It has the power to reach out and heal those who aren't even looking for God. This same power that raised Jesus from the dead reaches out to the drug-addicted and wakes those who are dying.
So I would like to propose that every time the hand of Satan is seen accomplishing evil, causing war upon the human race that God so loves, that you open your mouth and speak words that cut giants off at the knees, prayers that stop jihads in their tracks, and prayers that silence the roaring of the enemy who desires to steal, kill, and destroy.
"What then shall we say about these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?" Romans 8:31 NET
And if you find it hard to pray, ask God to fill your mouth. He is faithful to do so. And if you find it hard to love enough to pray for your enemies, remember this.
"For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Even the tax collectors do the same, don't they?" Matthew 5:46 NET