Here’s a great article by Karina Kreminski on Missio Alliance titled “A Christian response to Iraq and ISIS”.

I shared at our staff devotion this morning from Rom 12.9-21, adapting what Ms Kreminski wrote, on our Christian response to war, persecution, natural disasters and other negative circumstances in the news and all around us.

On 4 Aug 1914, Britain declared war on Germany, a declaration which plunged the nations into WWI. This year, the centenary of WWI, a war which took the lives of around 9 million, is being commemorated by various nations.

This year we commemorate the centenary of the start of the “war to end all wars.” The last veterans have died and the village war memorials, with their tragic lists of the dead, are weathered with age, but war itself is not history and soldiers have not gone away … there are more than 50 conflicts continuing in the world today. As Christians we must not simply ignore or wish them away.

In the short span of a few weeks, the world has been confronted with the news of the ISIS/Iraq persecution, the Russia/Ukraine crisis and the shooting down of MH17, racial riots in Ferguson, Missouri, Ebola in Nigeria, earthquakes in Yunnan, and landslides in Japan/India, just to name a few. How do we as Christians respond and react as we read, hear and watch such things happening around us?

  1. Mourn with those who mourn (v.15)
    There is a lot of grief, mourning, sorrow and weeping happening in the Middle East right now, especially those who are being persecuted, not just Christians, but many minorities. We need to grieve, weep and mourn. We need to stand in solidarity and empathy with the global church in prayer and petition.
  2. Practice peace (v.18)
    Jesus said that we are blessed if we are peacemakers. How can we as Christians practice daily peace? As we post and debate on Facebook? In our neighbourhoods? In our most intimate relationships? What can we do to evacuate violence in our theology and practice?
  3. Engage in ‘shalom activism’ (v.17)
    This can be described as actions undertaken by Christians which function to bring peace and wholeness into our world e.g.writing to our national leaders, staging peaceful protests, as well as prayer. Prayer is a subversive act that threatens the powers that exist as they begrudgingly recognise the reign of God which will eventually be clearly revealed and will fill our reality.
  4. Practice loving our enemies (v.14, 21)
    Our one distinction as Christians is not primarily our anger, our passion, commitment or even our hold on truth. As important as those qualities are, our one unique mark is supposed to be the practice of Christian love. This is a love that emulates the love of a God who gave His life for the world even when the world was His enemy. Even within the context of abounding hatred today, how can we practice loving our enemies?
  5. Focus on the blessed hope (v.12)
    Verse 12 tells us, “Rejoice in hope, persevere in tribulation, devote in prayer.” By keeping our eyes focused and fixed on Jesus, rather than the circumstances happening around us, we can continue to hope in the Lord and lead lives worthy of Him as we await His glorious return, to reign and to redeem mankind once and for all. As Titus 2.11-14 reads,

11 For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, 12 instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, 13 looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, 14 who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.

I ended with singing this old familiar chorus, “He is our peace.”

He is our peace
Who has broken down every wall
He is our peace (x2) (repeat)

Cast all your cares on Him
For He cares for you
He is our peace (x2) (repeat)