Monday, August 11, 2014

ISIS: What Blows My Mind the Most

I, like all of you, have been appalled at the atrocities happening in Iraq at the hands of ISIS extremists. I read one CNN article in which a survivor described what is happening like this: "It's not a crisis. It's a catastrophe!" The stories of horror, the pictures of persecution, the families faced with the impossible decision of fleeing in to the desert with no supplies or staying and facing prison, persecution, and/or death ... my heart breaks. 

This weekend, as a church, we took some time to pray for the people of Iraq and our Christian brothers and sisters there who are being killed for their faith. As we were praying, one of our pastors (Mitchel) reminded us to pray for "Saul like conversions" for the leaders of ISIS (Reads Acts 8 & 9 if you need to better understand this). He asked us to pray that these leaders would come face to face with Jesus and never be the same. 

If I can be honest, praying in this way was the furthest thing from my mind. If anything, I was praying for God's justice ... for His revenge ... for His anger to be poured out on these people and that He would step up and defend His Church. Make no mistake ... He will. I don't know when, but one day all will be made right and "every knee will bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord."

But, as horrible as the atrocities are ... as heart-breaking as it is to see families destroyed for their faith ... as difficult as it is to see this evil being done in the name of "good," what blows my mind the most is that Jesus died for the very same people that are carrying out this wickedness. What blows my mind is that my sin makes me just as guilty as their sin ... but His grace is big enough to cover it all. What blows my mind is that, as hard as it is for me to understand it and comprehend it, if any of these ISIS leaders "confessed with their mouth that Jesus is Lord and believed in their heart that God raised Him from the dead, they would be saved." 

In my very finite mind, it just doesn't seem fair. But, grace is anything but fair. I'm so thankful that, because of God's grace, I haven't been treated fairly. I have been treated unfairly and the unfair treatment of God's grace has given me so much more than I would ever deserve. 

Would you join me in praying for our brothers and sisters persecuted in Iraq and also for "Saul-like conversions" in the lives of those doing the persecuting. 

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