I know there are some who see ISIS and their murderous activities in Iraq as further evils of Islam. Keep in mind, though, that ISIS is not only driving away and killing Christians and Jews; they kill Sunni and Shiite muslims as well. While they may point to certain passages in the Quran as justification for their sinful and evil action, their actions are not representative of Islam. The Bible itself can be (and has been) used in just a decrepit way.
Don’t focus on the religion they use as a mask for their hate and depravity. Remember these are men, who were created in God’s image. They are sinful, depraved creatures whose hearts will not change by hating them or killing them. Hatred and murder is their language, is their practice, and they are far better at it than you are. That’s my guess, anyway.
They are killing Christians, our brothers and sisters. They are killing their own “fellow” Muslims, our neighbors. Affinity with those being killed is easy. Much harder is realizing and reacting in the Christ Commanded way to the people of ISIS, our enemies and our persecutors. Much harder is stepping away from the desire for the US military to enter Iraq and eradicate ISIS with several drone attacks or the massive ground offensives this country is quite capable of, and considering how we–followers of The Way, disciples of Jesus, a people called out from the ways of the sinful world to act just as our master and exemplar did–might consistently and genuinely live out the way of Jesus, here and now, under these circumstances.
How do we respond in genuine unity with our persecuted and martyred brothers and sisters? How can we act in such a way that does not involve laying down the cross? Must some of us lay down our lives for our friends?
We know that we Christians will rise again, will eternally dwell with Jesus our King, no matter how we die on this Earth. But, it’s still so difficult to consider sacrificing ourselves, being willing to die, for the sake of a friend, especially for the sake of an enemy. We still tend to value our own lives more than others. We still want to control our fate, our life and death, in spite of what Jesus has said. We still want to be the masters of wrath against perpetrators of evil, believing that’s our job on this Earth, in spite of what God has said. We, the people of God, in our passion for autonomous free will, have distanced ourselves from the one we claim to follow, and have forgotten how much we truly depend on Him for life, death, and resurrection.
So how do we, a community far removed from the active carnage ongoing, respond? How do we act so our brothers and sisters know they are not alone? How do we act so our neighbors (the Muslims enduring their own persecution) know we will not forget them or lump them in with their killers? How do I remember that being a graphic designer isn’t my calling, it’s just something I do; that my calling is to make disciples, to love my neighbors and enemies, to teach, to baptize, to feed, to visit, and to sacrifice?
How do I be a Christian in the face of ISIS? I can’t, because I cannot be a Christian by myself. The real question is how can we, the body of Christ, be the body of Christ, in unity with the persecuted and martyred in Iraq and around the globe, in the face of ISIS?