But do you ever think of how you might react or feel if it came catastrophically close to 'you' ? If you are related to any of those who experienced the Sydney Siege, or if the plan to behead a random member of the public by the Sydney pair arrested a few days ago had succeeded and it was 'your' brother who had been murdered....or perhaps, if it happened to be Rev Fred Nile? Don't you think that as a Christian (if you are) you might find these words something of a challenge?
43 ‘You have heard that it was said, “Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.” 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matt 5)
The main point I wish to make today, is that in the light of the events mentioned above, can you not see just how radical Christ's words are? They stand out like a brilliant light on the top of a high mountain, shining down on us, radiating inexpressible grace. They are of a standard unlike any human standard. So far above our natural inclinations. If 'perfection' involves doing this in full, what does that say about our true condition?
Considering the depth of evil dwelling in the mind of the typical ISIS member, it is almost inconceivable to think of 'loving' them. I feel like saying to my Lord.."Why Lord???? it's just too hard...they are so bad.. so evil..and why don't YOU do something to stop them?"
Perhaps He has done something?
Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
5 But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
6 We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
yet he did not open his mouth;
he was led like a lamb to the slaughter,
and as a sheep before its shearers is silent,
so he did not open his mouth.
8 By oppression and judgment he was taken away.
Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living;
for the transgression of my people he was punished.
9 He was assigned a grave with the wicked,
and with the rich in his death,
though he had done no violence,
nor was any deceit in his mouth.
For ISIS, there is a harsh notification so to speak.... they will inevitably face the Judgement seat of God, and this is the warning:
Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell (Matt 20:28)