Here are four biblical responses to terrorism or hatred that makes the Christian different from others.
Pray for Your Enemies
Christianity is the only religion that I know of where they pray for their enemies. Imagine that, praying for someone you know is your enemy! Jesus prayed, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34) just as they were crucifying, and really murdering, Him. I can’t even fathom the thought that we would pray for someone who’s murdering us, but Jesus did. That’s a great way to respond to hatred or terrorism. Pray for them because unless they repent, they are going to perish (Luke 13:3; Rev. 20:12-15).
Bless Them Who Curse You
We love to ask God’s blessing on people, especially in our greetings and goings, which is a good thing. But did you know that it’s biblical to ask God’s blessing on those who are cursing you? Jesus tells us to “bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you” (Luke 6:28). That sounds very hard to do, but that’s a biblical response to hatred and terrorism. I was told by one angry atheist, “I hate you,” and I said, “Friend, may God richly bless you.” He didn’t know what to say after that. Did I feel like asking God to bless him? Nope, but it was a biblical way to respond. Did Jesus feel like going to the cross? No, Jesus prayed twice for the cup to be removed (Luke 22:42), but He knew the biblical response was to go to Calvary because Jesus knew it was the Father’s will. That is the Father’s will for us, too.
Do Good to Those Who Hate You
Once more, Jesus sets the bar very high for the follower of Christ, saying, “But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you” (Luke 6:27). Think how hard this is. Imagine someone doing something bad to you or something you own; then you in turn respond by doing something good to them. But that’s exactly what Jesus asks us to do. “When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly” (1 Pet. 2:23). We should also entrust ourselves to God because He’s going to serve justice 100%.
Love Your Enemies
Maybe I saved the best (or the hardest!) for last because the last impression will hopefully be a lasting one. Going back to Luke 6:27a, Jesus says, “Love your enemies,” which is going to confuse those who hate you and those who carry out terrorist attacks. When the terrorists see Christians responding with love and prayer, they cannot understand it, but Jesus says, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” (Matt. 5:44). The word “and” in “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you” means that we should love our enemies and pray for those who are our persecutors. Can you think of any better way to respond to terrorism and those who hate us?
This is not really my advice; it is what Jesus taught. My opinion is unimportant. God’s Word is of the highest importance. How amazing it was that Jesus never once responded to the way they treated him with anger. He was angry with the self-righteous and the money changers in the temple, but whenever someone attacked Him, He never responded in like manner. Here’s how you respond to hatred and terrorism: You pray for your enemies; you bless those who curse you; you do good things for those who do bad things to you; and you love your enemies because God first loved us when we were wicked sinners (Rom. 5:8). “While we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life” (Rom. 5:10).
May God richly bless you,
Pastor Jack Wellman
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