“ISIS’s mission is to enforce the sovereignty of God. Christ’s mission was to enforce the sovereignty of God.”
This shocking introduction to one of Dr Maher Samuel’s recent televised messages (see clip below) speaks volumes in the light of the recent regional developments and international comments. Dr Samuel went on to explain the vast contrast between the two, for while ISIS sought to enforce the sovereignty of God through death, Christ offered the sovereignty of God through life. ISIS uses the sword to force people to submit to God’s sovereignty while Jesus hung on the cross to bring people to life so that they would choose the sovereignty of God.
From the torture and beheading of innocent lives, through the appalling burning of the Jordanian pilot, to the most recent gruesome beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians in Libya, along with dozens more atrocities committed by ISIS, do we as Christians in the Middle East have a role to play?
I was recently blessed to view a filming by SAT-7 (see clip below) of one of the Iraqi child refugees who was forced to abandon her home, school and just about everything, to survive. She was filled with so much hope and faith in God… I was stunned! After enjoying the stability that every child desperately needs, suddenly this little girl was thrust into maximum instability with no home, no school, no friends, and a clearly unknown future. She taught me so much about the true meaning of faith. Myriam worships a God who gave up His only begotten Son and died so that she may have LIFE and have it more abundantly.
When asked how she felt towards ISIS, Myriam said, “I don’t want revenge. I don’t want to kill them. I pray for them.” Wow! I’m reminded of the burning of churches that took place in Egypt over a year ago and the Christians who held up a sign in their burned down church that read, “My terrorist brother, I came today to pray for you.” I’m also reminded of the mother of a young girl who was shot and killed in front of her church, and the genuine forgiveness that this mom expressed to her daughter’s murderers. She declared on secular Egyptian TV that she not only forgives them, but prays that they would repent of their sins! And this week the brother of two of the young Egyptians murdered in Libya after going there simply to find work to support their families said the same. He called in to a live worship programme on SAT-7 and prayed that God would open the eyes of his brothers’ killers.
How desperate is the world to see such real witness of the Church of Christ! Christ embodied a philosophy of life while ISIS embodies a philosophy of death. This is such an opportune time for Christians to be true ambassadors for Christ’s philosophy of life. We serve a living God and only if we are truly at peace with Him through the intimate type of knowledge He desires, can we be at peace with others (and forgive those who persecute and kill us), and be at peace with ourselves. As Ravi Zacharias recently quoted Thomas Merton, “We are not at peace with others because we are not at peace with ourselves, and we are not at peace with ourselves because we are not at peace with God.” Indeed, not until we are at peace with God, can we be salt and light to a desperate world.
For what kind of philosophy could possibly drive a human to burn another human to death alive or horrifically behead 21 innocent young men? What kind of philosophy could make this human so proud of such a gruesome crime that he would video tape it and display it to the world using professional production? That’s the question that thousands around me have been asking. It’s the question that has made it on talk shows, newspaper headlines, and certainly flooded social media outlets. People are hungry for answers like never before. Now more than ever before can people see the contrast in Christ’s powerful words, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (John 10:10, NKJV).