There have been so many heartbreaking things lately to happen. So much suffering. So much hate. There is no way to avoid hearing about the hurting happening in this world. There is no way to avoid hearing about the evil. Lately, it seems the world’s greatest named enemy are Jihadists and terrorist groups. They are doing a great job of instilling fear and terror across borders and around the world. Between beheadings, bombings, mass shootings, public executions, and other threats, the world is hearing and seeing their evil. What broke my heart this weekend was seeing some more news about more evil and pain through terrorist attacks in Paris, Beirut, and Baghdad. So many lives lost. So much hurting and pain.
Something struck me through the many social media posts I saw. So many posts were blaming refugees for the attack specifically on Paris. So many posts were calling for immediate airstrikes. And still others were full of grief. What became all the more clear to me in light of the events that occurred over the last week around the world, is that this world needs Jesus. I may sound like a broken record, and frankly I don’t care. Jesus is the only Hope, only Redeemer and only Savior of this world. Whatever brokenness, whatever evil, whatever pain, whatever tragedy we face, he is our hope. Our everything.
That goes for everyone. The Gospel and love of Jesus Christ is radically, completely and totally inclusive. In light of the recent events, this could be a very hard pill to swallow: Jesus loves Jihadists.
I am sure my last statement is not a popular one, but it is a Biblical one. Jesus came to this Earth to save the righteous only, right? No! Jesus came to bring healing to the broken, freedom for the captive, forgiveness for the sinner, redemption for the evildoer. People who encountered Jesus weren’t the same after. They lived differently. Jesus came bearing a message that would weigh heavy for all of eternity because it was one that included every person. He lived and died for the forgiveness of this world, for every single person. It is a painful and hard, and even unwanted, to hear that the Good News- the Gospel- is even for the terrorist. I am not saying that justice on Earth doesn’t need to happen nor am I trying to nullify the evil done. Earthly consequences are often necessary and unavoidable. I am just trying to convey a message that Jesus died for: a radical love that loved the enemies, the adulterer, the murderer, the liar, the gossip, the slave, the free, the parent, the child, the homosexual, the straight, the old and the young.
This radical love is one that I want to be better at. I want to be someone that can live out a love that is so radical that I can forgive the terrorist. Why? Because Jesus wants even them to turn from their evil and live for Him. I want to be someone that can love someone who may never return that love. I want to be someone that kneels and weeps and prays for those that hurt me and persecute me. I want to be someone that embodies so closely the character of Christ, that people see Jesus first in me.
I would love to be there the day that a Jihadist- a terrorist, a murderer, adulterer, whoever- meets Jesus. The day their life changes. The day that might be forgiven. The day they take ownership of their sin and claim redemption in Jesus. I understand that the likelihood of me actually seeing that take place is slim, but I want to be sure to pray. To remember to pray for the hurting as well as the offender. I want to remember to believe that redemption is possible for anyone, even if its on the other side of eternity.