You may be surprised I’m blogging about this topic, but as a blogger who blogs about wellness, I feel it would be remiss not to say something about Paris.
I started seeing stuff about Paris on my News Feed on Facebook. Sadly, I’ve become used to hearing about kids being shot in schools and suicide bombings. I didn’t think much of it at first.
I watched CNN and was shocked at how the Paris attack was orchestrated and the degree of carnage. I felt sadness, empathy, anger, disgust, rage, frustration and hate. I felt hate toward ISIS. To my embarrassment, for a moment, I felt anger and hate toward Muslims.
My immediate knee jerk reaction was: This would not be happening if everyone was Christian. We need to bomb and fight ISIS to the death.
I heard a quote from Donald Trump where he said “I would bomb the s— out of Isis.”
Then I asked myself what Jesus would say or do.
Matthew 5-“You’re familiar with the old written law, ‘Love your friend,’ and its unwritten companion, ‘Hate your enemy.’ I’m challenging that. I’m telling you to love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer, for then you are working out of your true selves, your God-created selves.”
Other translations say “Pray for your enemies.”
I was listening to a discussion about Paris on NPR. The group talked about how the people performing these acts of terror are typically not immigrants, but are citizens or people who grew up in France, the US, etc.
What would drive people to perform these horrors?
On the show, they talked about the backlash of hate and anger directed toward the Muslim community after an incident like Paris. It’s normal citizens like you and me directing our rage toward the Muslim neighbor down the street, kids defacing a mosque and employers automatically throwing out the resumes of people with Muslim sounding names. I read how ISIS wants us to hate Muslims in our community, so they’ll have more recruits.
I’m not justifying the horror of Paris, Beirut, Kenya, etc. in anyway. But, is it any wonder that a fringe, minority group of young Muslims might be drawn into the message of ISIS?
The natural response is to fight violence with violence and hate with hate. Remember Iraq and Afghanistan? Did that work?
What will a person in the Middle East feel toward America when they see their home, friends and family destroyed as collateral damage in the fight against ISIS?
I’m seeing all the images on Facebook saying “Pray for Paris.” I feel the deepest empathy, sadness and indignation for what happened to the victims of Paris. These people desperately need our prayers. I’m not seeing anyone say “Pray for ISIS.” Even writing it down feels abhorrent, but what does Jesus say?
Pray for our enemies. Love your neighbor, yes, your Muslim, Atheist, Buddhist neighbors, as yourself.
I’m convinced the only way to break the cycle of violence is Love. It will not end by government policy, peace talks or bombing. It will be the everyday average citizen like you and me, responding to this horrific tragedy in love and not in hate.
Am I saying we should not try and be strong with ISIS? Absolutely not. What I’m saying is that if we want to see less of this kind of incident from happening, it will be by one person at a time loving their neighbor.
I know some of you may not agree with me, which I respect. This is on ongoing discussion I think we all need to undertake to process through the pain, but I hope you can consider this point of view.
Have I shed tears and prayed for the victims and people of Paris? Absolutely! I will also pray, however, the people of ISIS would change their ways and that Christians will love their neighbors.
How are you processing what happened in Paris?