Please read Nehemiah 4: 7 – 23
Key verse: And I looked and arose and said to the nobles and to the officials and to the rest of the people, “Do not be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons, your daughters, your wives, and your homes.” Nehemiah 4:14, ESV
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are living up to their name as terrorist. We have viewed human atrocities that may rival those imposed during WWII. The kidnapping of hundreds of young women and girls to be sold for a mere thousand dollars as wives and sex slaves, the executions of hundreds of men and boys because they would not convert to their radical faith, the beheading of so far two innocent American journalist and now the possible threat to not only the Middle East countries, but to many nations, ISIS has left their mark as a group that should not be taken for granted. To turn a blind’s eye to their activities would only strengthen their cause and stronghold they are quickly gaining. The media talks daily of the vast injustices ISIS has caused and are poised to continue with. Many news panels have discussed the pros and cons of ISIS and argue America’s involvement with said group. We are horrified with the images we have seen and have been warned that it’s only the beginning.
It has been reported that members of ISIS have no “moral compass”; no feelings of remorse for their actions. And it shows in the media when we see videos of children as young as five and six years old learning how to shoot, clean and assemble semi-automatic guns and hold up the head of a person as if they had just got their first deer. It shows when they dehumanize people who could very well be related to them and kill them violently because their religious beliefs are not the same as ISIS. And the lack of a “moral compass” shows when ISIS chases thousands of people from their homes into the mountains with the plans to let them die of starvation and exposure to the elements.
What should Americans feel about these events? How should Christian believers respond to such a cruel group as ISIS? Should we wait until they invade America as Al Qaida did on 9/11? Is there a biblical response to such barbaric behaviors?
Religious wars have been around since the beginning of time. Every faith has a history of things which its members made poor choices on behalf of their God/god/deity. And any response for ISIS, biblically speaking, could add to the feud between faith and politics. Yet, an answer needs to be given as to how we should respond to ISIS as Americans and as believers in the Christian faith.
I will not try to take various Scriptures to justify my way of thinking because I do not want to give a misinterpretation of Scriptures. I could easily pull out verses which show how God had His armies wipe out not only the enemy armies; but also the women, children and livestock as well. I could list quotes where we should pray to God to wipe out their linage off the face of the earth. In the same way, I could also list passages that declare to love one another, to forgive those who wrong us, and to turn the other cheek. I will share the Nehemiah passage. The Jews were trying to rebuild the walls around Jerusalem and return to the land God promised them. The opposing armies wanted to stop their cause and remain in control of the Jews. What did they do? They armed themselves and prepared to fight as they rebuilt the wall.
I am a peaceful and loving person. I work in the fields of human social services as well as being a pastor. I work well in conflict resolution in many cases. I hate war! However, this being said, how do you negotiate with people who have no moral compass? Can you reason with those who have severed their emotions from their actions? Can you train and reason with a blood-thirsty dog to become a house pet that is gentle with the family and to protect them instead of devouring them?
My response to ISIS is this: 1) I will pray for them that they will stop this reign of terror. 2) I will reach out to their victims with compassion and help in any way I possibly can. 3) I will support those fighting against such evil as ISIS with prayers and whatever means I can. 4) I will stand with those armed and fight against the evil. I will do whatever is necessary to protect my family, my loved ones, my church and my county (America). I will not start a conflict, but I also will not go down easily. Does it go against what God believes and desires for His people? Everyone will judge me for that, but the only one I stand before on my day of reckoning is God. I will protect those whom God has entrusted me with. Again, I am NOT looking for a fight, but should one come, I will stand and defend.
That is how I personally believe we should respond to ISIS. How you view it is your choice. I do not apologize for my belief; I apologize for not doing more to end the suffering of the innocent.