September 20, 2013
"He who is not with Me is against Me" - Jesus (Luke 11:23)
by Brittany Tedesco
According to a Lebanese ministry leader, rebel terrorists in Syria see Christians as “their number one target.” He made the statement personal with the example of his friend, a 35-year-old believer who ministers to the Bedouins in Jordan. During one of the man’s trips to the Bedouin field, terrorists slaughtered his wife, children, and siblings at home in Syria—eight members of his family. Just for being Christians.
The ministry leader emphasized the word “slaughter,” saying “The Syrian army [in fighting against the terrorists] shoots people in the head with bullets. The terrorists slaughter people – torturing them before finally finishing them off.”
I struggle to understand the depth of that kind of hatred.
Steve Van Valkenburg, our Middle East Director, helped me to process it by describing the “darkened minds” of those doing the killing. He explains how, with each person they ruthlessly murder, their minds become a little more blackened, a little more callous.
I thought about that. Without Christ, all of our minds are darkened. As non-believers we may not have murdered people, but all of us worked against Christ in some form. A person cannot be neutral.
Jesus said, “He who is not with Me is against Me” (Luke 11:23). His statement includes policy makers in the western world…whose decisions affect the persecuted Church.
I’ve been disappointed by some of those decisions, but I think my disappointment is good. It points to the faith, however small, I’d been placing in political forces rather than in the One Who rules the universe.
In her excellent blog, Religious Liberty Monitoring, Elizabeth Kendal spoke to my heart: “The Church should have no illusions: there is only one worthy of our faith; only one worthy of our trust. We must stop trusting in economic leverage, military might, alliances with power and earthly ‘strongmen’ – for they will only fail us. We have an ally and his name is Yahweh Sabaoth (the Lord of hosts). Strength to turn back the battle lies with him. (Isaiah 28:5-6)”