Adolf Hitler once said, “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”
Adolf Hitler ruthlessly used this strategy to incite hatred and violence toward the Jewish people of Europe. It is no surprise that he would choose to use a campaign of lies, for the atrocities that occurred at his leadership can only be explained by tracing it back to the father of lies – Satan.
In the aftermath of the massacres in Paris, Beriut and Baghdad this past week I’m convinced that it’s origins can also be traced there. We are currently engaged in a battle that is much larger than politics, territory and conquest. We are in a war with much more than flesh and blood.
However, as I see the foreign names of the attackers flash across the scene and I hear the eyewitness accounts of the way they heartlessly murdered innocent people – I want to hate them.
It isn’t easy for me to look beyond them and see the real enemy.
The truth is – none of the attackers were born terrorists, they became terrorists.
One radical lie believed after another and they somehow arrived at the idea that strapping on a suicide vest and shooting the innocent is honorable and eternally rewarding, instead of cowardly and disgusting.
It is lies like these that are fueling and attracting converts to ISIS, but they are also being used to wage war against the world.
ISIS is surviving and thriving on a lie. A lie that says that the world and the “people of the cross” should be in fear of their regime of terror.
It is exactly that, however, – a lie.
And what lies tend to do is make you blind to the truth.
The truth is, “the people of the cross” are not slaves to fear. (Romans 8:15)
They are a people who ask, “Where O death is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55).
They are a people empowered by an eternal, unshakable living God (Hebrews 12:28).
They are a people who believe that perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18).
The truth is, the people of the cross are moved by something far greater than fear.
The people of the cross are moved by loved.
Not just any love, though. A perfect love from a perfect loving God.
They are so moved by this love that they are willing to give up their life for one another. Sacrifice runs deep through the blood of this people.
As an early church father, Tertullian, once said, “the blood of the martyrs is the seed of the Church”.
So while the enemy and the darkness behind ISIS believes it is furthering its’ cause, it is also furthering another cause. With every drop of blood spilled by the hands of these cowardly terrorists they are simultaneously strengthening the resolve of the people of the cross.
Persecution is not foreign to the Christian. Our heritage begins with our Savior being crucified… but it doesn’t end that way.
Unlike the foundation of ISIS, our foundation finds root in what will never fail.
Fear is a lie and it will do its best to make you something you are not. In spite of terrorism, in spite of the horrific events, in spite of the fear involved, let’s not be motivated by it.
Out of fear I’ve found myself being soley focused on how we can avoid and defend this radical movement, while mostly neglecting the God created men trapped inside of it. Difficult as it may be, it is possible to pray for both the victim and the victimizers.
I don’t know the political answers, nor am I qualified to provide them. What I do know is that as the Church we are called to people, not away from them. Let’s not let evil… nor ISIS.. nor fear.. nor anything else in this life stand in the way of the mission to which we are called.
Let’s be the church that this hurting world needs now more than ever before.
Defying ISIS begins with defying fear first.
The enemy is at work, but rest assured, no enemy will ever out-work our God.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,
“For your sake we are being killed all the day long;
we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”