This blog usually is not a forum for my own opinions, usually I try to present or represent the best within traditional Christianity. However, recent tragic events have sparked a conversation, and for what it is worth here is my opinion. This weekend 21 Christians were killed at the hands of ISIS militants. Since then, I have seen a number of reactions representing several opinions. Many of these reactions called for America to take action against a blatant evil; or, have pointed out the international outcry which would accompany Christians killing Muslims. America may or may not have an obligation to attack ISIS and there may well be an outcry if Christians were killing Muslims, but, both of these miss the point.
The point is “How should I react to this event” and the answer is, especially if I am a Christian, I should pray. I should pray for the families, friends, and congregations of those killed. I should thank God that these individuals had such a tremendous testimony and as Revelation 6 9-11 tells us, God protects those killed unjustly and hears their prayers. I should pray for the members of ISIS, not simply that they be defeated, or that evil is removed from earth; but, FOR THEM, I should sit down and pray for these individuals. I should attempt to show them the same love and compassion I show to anyone else. This is not easy, especially when one feels compassion for the victims, but, it is essential. Below is an Orthodox prayer to help us see our duty.
Lord Jesus Christ, Who didst command us to love our enemies, and those who defame and injure us, and to pray for them and forgive them; Who Thyself didst pray for Thine enemies, who crucified thee: grant us, we pray, the spirit of Christian reconciliation and meekness, that we may heartily forgive every injury and be reconciled with our enemies. Grant us to overcome the malevolence and offences of people with Christian meekness and true love of our neighbor. We further beseech Thee, O Lord, to grant to our enemies true peace and forgiveness of sins; and do not allow them to leave this life without true faith and sincere conversion. And help us repay evil with goodness, and to remain safe from the temptations of the devil and from all the perils which threaten us, in the form of visible and invisible enemies. Amen.