If you’ve been on Twitter, or Facebook, or watched any news in the past 12 hours you know the story emerging of a Jordanian man burned alive at the hands of Isis. I won’t provide links as you can easily get caught up to speed with a simple google inquiry.
It’s horrific and sad, and weeping might be the most suitable response for the Christian. And yet, there will in a lot of us be anger. Angry that men (as used to describe those of the male gender) could watch another man burned alive as his screams echo the dusty landscape. There is sure to be a lot of commentary as the injustice mounts and grows more evil. There will be legal commentary, political commentary, and military commentary. There will be opinions written in every major news article tomorrow of the best way to eradicate this evil from the earth and yet we as Christians would do well to think, “How do I glorify Christ most in this time?”
So below are three traps we need to be wary of as people who know our greatest treasure is yet to come and our greatest lover took our grief.
When such evil arrises it is tempting for some of us to want to escape the grief. For after all, grief is a hard thing to bear, to share and to sit under. Yet, we must not check-out. We as Christians, cannot keep our head down as the world experiences injustice after injustice. It’s not an option. I’m not speaking to the size of our actions but the inclination of our heart: we must acknowledge evil. We must be a people that says this is hard, this is wrong and this is not how the world was meant to be. We cannot check-out.
2. Grieve with Hopelessness
Many are paralyzed at such images. And it is hard to see such evil persist in a world that was crafted by such a good Father. We can often believe that the cross was the end and that resurrection never came. We can often forget hope, redemption, and wholeness. This is hard but we must search God’s word, take Him at His word, and be a people that offer hope beyond the “walls of this world” (to steal from Lewis). We must grieve but we must not be hopeless.
3. Resist Using the Word Evil
Perhaps the most printed word tomorrow morning will be, “extremism”. And while there is certainly a place for this word and while it does to some affect help us understand the acts of evil, we must not forgo calling evil things evil. Some acts are just evil and to call them anything less is to spit in the face of those who have suffered, who have lost deeply, and who have stared evil itself in the eyes. The Christian knows that evil exists in every corner of the world and lurks within our own hearts. We need to be people who use a language of “evil” “wrong”, and “broken”. The world is broken, and as ironic as it may sound, it takes great hope to admit that the world needs a Savior. We must not shy away from this need because we know it is has been fully met and offered freely.
Friends, it’s heartbreaking and it’s easy to avoid pain, rather than testing our faith, seeing if God offers hope and relaying this hope to others. But friends, we are sons of a loving Father who gave us His son. We know things the world does not know and we need to be wary of falling into the same thinking pattern and language pattern of a world that doesn’t know redemption has a name and He knows, He cares, and He loves.
Let’s be hopeful, winsome, and grieving witnesses tomorrow.