This has been one of those weeks where the constant talking, temper tantrums, 2:00 a.m. feedings, and endless diaper changes haven’t bothered me very much. Instead, we’ve all been glued to the television, horrified by the Boston Marathon bombings and watching the manhunt for the terrorists that destroyed so many people’s lives. My emotions have ranged from fear and sadness to anger and hatred. I shouldn’t have to explain this insanity to my kids. I feel like a little piece of their childhood gets taken away when they see the world in this way. Will our children grow up in a world where they have to be afraid of crazy extremists?
To be honest, my first thought when I found out about the bombings was that it was done by some radical Muslims. (And by all accounts, this is exactly what happened.) And all I wanted was for these horrible men to be found, tortured for information, and then locked away for life (or worse). I realize this may seem harsh to some people, but it’s how I felt. I get so tired of our government pandering to the Muslim world and making excuses for Islam. Those people, the radical Muslims, want to kill us. So my instinct is to hate them.
Then a friend of mine on Facebook that I greatly respect posted something to this effect: We should stop trying these men in the media, and we should pray that “suspect #2” finds Jesus. Whoa. I can’t say that this line of thinking was anywhere on my radar. But shouldn’t it be? At least the “finding Jesus” part? The Muslim world and those who are followers of Islam and Muhammad are lost. They are being led by satan. The only way that their lives are going to change and the terrorism is going to stop is if they come to know the One True God, my Savior Jesus Christ.
Have I explained to Brienne that, yes, these bombers have committed evil acts, but we need to pray for their salvation? No, I haven’t. Instead, I keep harping on the fact that they are Muslim terrorists and that they want to kill Americans. But Jesus commanded us in Matthew 5:44 to “love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”
I read a devotion yesterday that said we should love those around us – everyone – and our entire mission is to be like Jesus. Jesus Himself prayed for those who were crucifying Him, saying, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they are doing.” He loved the men who were killing Him and He wanted grace for them. Wow.
I’m not sure I’m ready to pray for grace, forgiveness, and salvation for these two extremist brothers, but I know that The Lord would want me to do exactly that. How do I reconcile my Christianity with my patriotism and my love for America? How can I teach my children to love and pray for their enemies when I don’t? If my main reason for being on this earth is to glorify The Lord and to be like Christ, then I have to let Him shape me into His image. Even if He tells me to do the exact opposite thing from what I want to do. Even if it means praying for a terrorist who killed a little boy who was the same age as Brienne. That’s hard to accept.
But I am called to be like Jesus. All of us who claim Christ as our Savior are called to be like Jesus. How will we respond?