That’s how Jonathan, a co-worker living in the Middle East described his response to the recent terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut. "Perfect love casts out terror." The outpouring of terror in Paris and Beirut make me angry – but it does not dictate my attitude to terrorists. Jesus defines my responses to terror, more than any government or act of terror ever will be able to do!
I know the difference between my response as an American citizen and my response as a citizen of the Kingdom of God. God’s kingdom comes above America, as much as I love my country.
There is a place for governments to protects it’s citizens. God has created them for that purpose. But while government armies can protect us, they cannot win the real war, the war for people’s hearts. That is the war that counts for eternity. And it is not fought with human weapons.
God challenged me years ago with these words, “You see yourself more as an American than a Christian –I want that to change.” I made a covenant with God in that moment to build my life - and my identity - on the words of Jesus
Perhaps these words from Jesus in John 10:10 can help you as much as they did me to respond like Jesus to terrorists and others far from God – I know they helped me:
“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”
What we’re seeing in ISIS and its associates is a movement of fear: of killing and destroying.
Jesus is the leader of another kind of movement, a movement of life and love. People who use terror and violence to advance their cause do so because they are losing the battle for people’s hearts and minds.
That’s right. They are losing the battle precisely because they fight with hate and violence.
Terrorists get the media’s attention, but they don’t win the battle for people’s hearts. There are far more people responding to the love of Jesus than will ever join up with ISIS and it’s movement of fear!
Millions of Muslims are turning to Jesus around the world and it is precisely for that reason: they are sick and tired of hate and violence. They are tired of man-made religion. Of rules and self-righteousness. They want something more. They hunger for what only Jesus can offer.
All Nations, through our ministry called Serve Syria, is part of a movement of love and life. We are sharing the love of Jesus with Muslims in many countries, especially with the Syrian refugees.
One such Syrian refugee named Ishmael was a former secret service agent in Syria – assigned to assassinate those who opposed the regime. He was sickened by what he was doing, but fearful to speak up. He decided to run for his life – literally. He escaped at night across the desert with his family to Jordan.
There Ishmael met “George” (not his real name – changed to protect his identity as he continues to minister in Jordan). George led him to faith in Christ and Ishmael in turn started 38 Bible studies with other refugees – including back in Syria itself.
The real war on terror isn’t fought with drones and AK47s! It is being combatted with love by our dedicated workers who are right now serving on the Syrian border and in refugee camps in Europe.
Terror is just another word for fear. And perfect love casts out terror and fear!