If you’ve been watching CNN, checking Twitter, or even, perusing Facebook over the past three days, chances are your heart has been as shattered and distraught as mine seeing gruesome images of an impending Iraqi genocide.
If not, consider this your wake-up call.
A terrorist group called ISIL, an acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, is systematically targeting religious minorities, including Christians, in Northern Iraq. They have beheaded children and displayed their skulls on stakes in the city center of Mosul, created horrific video footage of systematic machine-gun executions of young boys forced to lay face to the ground in a line, and vowed to rid Iraq, and the modern world, for that matter, of anyone who does not covert to their extremist interpretation of Islam.
To be fully up-to-speed, you’ll want to spend several hours reading the news and watching footage available online. Once you are, or if this blurb and photo are enough to have you convinced that this is an unimaginable act of evil happening beneath the world’s nose, and you have no idea what to do now, then you’ve come to the right place.
Did you ever study the Holocaust in elementary school, high school, college even, and think to yourself, “Gee, if I lived in that time I would have said something, done something—anything to prevent such unspeakable things from happening.”
I know I have lots of times—and I’ve made a private vow that no matter what evil I am facing, I will never tune out or turn a blind eye (I’m glad our president has said the same).
This is especially true for us, Church. Those aren’t just random people out there that this is happening to. These are our brothers, our sisters. Can you imagine if an actual member of your family was trapped in the mountains of Iraq, facing starvation or death by the sword?
While American troops move towards action and humanitarian organizations buckle down for emergency response, what can you and I do, right now, from the comfort of our middle-class American homes, to fight? To help?
There are lots of great humanitarian aid organizations that will be activated to help those fleeing from terror. UNICEF currently has the most proximity and man-power on the ground near the crisis. DONATE BY CLICKING HERE.
You’ll notice that the minimum donation is $50.00. If that bothers you, I implore you—how many times have you spent that on a pair of shoes? On eating out? On a tank of gas?
I put this item second to giving, because it’s the free one and hence the one that most of you will pick. But pray. Pray deeply, pray with tears inside and out, pray with urgency and pray knowing that the heart of God has broken wide open at this injustice.
However, we must pray not only for those suffering unthinkable emotional, psychological pain, but also for the ones inflicting it.
ISIL is pure evil. There is no getting around that. But hatred has never been vanquished with more hatred. Good will triumph in the end, but not because we let our hearts become infected with the same poison that has ruined these humans into heinous machines of war. We must pray that they come to their senses. That they stop. That they cease. We must pray the insanity that grips them so tightly would be broken.
3. Refuse to give in to fear
ISIL is so effective in their tactics partially because of the horror and tales that go before them before they even enter a village or town. They thrive off of fear. They live off of fear—they are successful because of fear. There are two things that they would love: for Iraqi’s to fear them and for the Western World to fear them.
I won’t lie. If gunmen burst through my door this very instant and demanded that I convert from being a Christian or die, I would be terrified. But until then, I will not give them the satisfaction of terrifying one more soul. I will choose bravery. I will choose belief. I will choose hope—for I am promised that nothing, not death, demons or persecution, can separate me from the love of Christ. Don’t turn away from the world’s horror or let your heart grow cold.
Thanks for reading, friends. Now go take your stand.