What about terrorists?
Yesterday we were challenged to look at The Compassionate Life a little closer. In the attempt to write a modern day parable similar to The Good Samaritan, we look at different kinds of people that cross our paths every day. I believe God brings certain people across our path for a reason, but sometimes we have to go TO them.
As we think of these people, though, we ask ourselves the hard question:
- “what type of person is the hardest for me to extend compassion to?”
- And what does exactly does it mean to live the Compassionate Life?
So, what about the terrorists?
I’m not limiting ourselves to people like ISIS or extremists half a world away who strap bombs to their chests. I’m talking about people closer to home, those who make the local news because of things like violence, rape, and murder. Inner city gangs on a vendetta causing collateral damage. The kid that shoots up his high school. The husband who beats his wife. The mob that sets fire to a local business and throws rocks through the windows. The bully on the playground. The guy who brutally raped a girl in the apartment complex down the street from mine.
Are we called to extend compassion to terrorists?
I’ll let you come to your own conclusions about that and invite you to weigh in, but if you’d let me I’d like to give you my thoughts on this. Perhaps as leaders we are held to higher standards, but I for one do not claim to possess all wisdom here. With that said, here’s my take on the issue.
First of all, I believe that nothing is beyond the hope of redemption. Nothing.
Second of all, evil exists in the world.
Sometimes it takes on subtle forms, but it’s there. While I personally tend to view this upcoming holiday as a way of getting to know neighbors and having fun in costume, there is no denying that there is an evil component to Halloween. We are reminded again that there is a battle happening right now, not of flesh and blood, but of good and evil. To deny evil exists or to downplay its reality is one of the Enemy’s greatest strategies. But evil is real. It is very very real.
Can I forgive my torturer?
Can I extend compassion to him?
I think that’s a different question entirely.
Let’s call evil for what it is.
Let’s challenge the evil parts of government and cultural systems. Let’s take it to the courts and demand justice. As citizens, let’s get involved in creating policy. And more importantly, let’s speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.
Jesus is so often presented as an image of a serene man who spoke calmly and spent all his time patting the heads of children and cuddling with sheep. But, the Jesus I see in Scripture also got angry. Really angry. “Brood of vipers” he called them! Recently I saw a meme on the internet that read, “If anyone ever asks you, ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ remind them that flipping over tables and chasing people with a whip is within the realm of possibilities.” Jesus called people out. He challenged institutions. And by going against the entire system, Jesus ended up paying with his very life.
You see, The Compassionate Life doesn’t just call us to a life of helping others by giving them food or teaching them to read, for example.
The Compassionate Life also calls us to take risks by proclaiming to people of influence, “this is NOT okay.”
Confronting evil is not easy.
There are so many issues out there that we have to choose our battles wisely. And it may cost us everything we have. But, our God is asking us to be his instruments in the halls of justice.
Take heart, friends, for with new life in Christ that seeks to abide in His purposes, we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to live this Compassionate Life. May we be witnesses for His glory and lead others to do the same.
What is ONE thing you can do THIS WEEK to get involved in the social justice side of The Compassionate Life?