In the Face of Martyrdom—A perspective on ISIS Tyranny

It seems like every week we hear a new story of ISIS’ barbarianism. Last week, we found out that 21 Egyptian Christians were beheaded, and this week 150 Syrian Christians were captured. At first, I was angry, and wanted to get on a plane, and murder as many of those heartless beings as I could find. But then I thought about what actually happened when ISIS swords were used to kill believers.

ISIS thinks they are showing the world how powerful they are—that they have the power of life and death in their hands. But that isn’t power, that is actually ISIS’ greatest weakness. Think about it this way. In Luke 12 Jesus said the following,

“I say to you, My friends, do not be afraid of those who kill the body and after that have no more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear the One who, after He has killed, has authority to cast into hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!”

ISIS can’t kill Christians. They can behead them. Burn them. Mutilate them. End their existence on earth. And yet—after the smoke clears (for that’s all it is, smoke)—they have simply released those Christians from suffering, and sent them into the presence of God. How infuriating it must be, to look a Christian in the eye with the desire and means to behead them, and see hope. For that’s what we have—that’s what the Egyptian Christians had—hope.

I know that it’s easy to let our emotions get the best of us in circumstances such as these: to get angry, because of injustice; to be fearful, that the same thing could, one day, happen to us. I don’t think it’s wrong to experience these emotions. But even in the darkest moments of mankind—when there seems to be no light and no hope—there is a reality that supersedes our experience, if only we have eyes to see it.

Here’s the reality: it’s easy to leave vengeance up to the Lord, when we know that the worst the enemy can do to us (or our family members) is send us to be in the presence of Christ. It’s easy to have hope in the midst of evil, when we realize that our enemy has already been defeated. That is our reality, and it was the reality for the Egyptian Christians who are now rejoicing in the presence of our Savior.

ISIS is already defeated, they just don’t have the eyes to see it. We can see it. We have the eyes to recognize that ISIS may think they took the lives of 21 Christians this week, but in reality, they gave 21 Christians the opportunity to be in the presence of God.

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