taking the words of Jesus seriously

Pray:

#Prayer is suddenly all over Twitter, social media and the news, and our culture seems to uncharacteristically crave the necessity of supernatural goodness when faced with evil—and so should Christians. We need to pray diligently.

Matthew 18:20 For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Ephesians 6:18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

Act:

Everyone is loved by God and made in His image—a divine creation. The words and actions of Christ clearly teach us to aid those in need, so as Christians we ought to actively help the world around us. In terror situations it often means selflessly and sacrificially serving.

Donate blood, purchase needed supplies, volunteer at hospitals, give foods to rescue workers, provide comfort to victims, and donate our time and energy in whatever ways possible. Christians need to be first-responders instead of spectators.

Matthew 25:40 Whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me

Mourn:

Ecclesiastes 3:1;4 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens. a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance. 

John 11:35 Jesus wept. 

Terrorism reminds us of the fragile sanctity of life. As hard as we might try to distract ourselves from the grief, sorrow and pain, sometimes these are the most honest and healthy feelings to have in such moments.

Related: In Light of the Boston Marathon, Today We Pray for Our Enemies – by Jon Huckins

We also mourn the realization that our world is corrupted by evil and sin. Death is a horrific weapon the enemy uses to wage war against God. We weep alongside Jesus.

Forgive:

When innocent people die there is a natural urge to hate, blame and seek revenge. But contrary to everything within our fallen nature, Jesus calls us to forgive.

Matthew 5:44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you

In life’s worst situations, we must always look to Jesus’ example—not the government, not the media, not our peers…but Jesus. And as Jesus was being tortured and mutilated on a cross, He did something utterly amazing. He said: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

And they divided up his clothes by casting lots. (Luke 23: 34)

It goes against everything within us, and many will not understand why we would do such a thing, but we must forgive.

Trust God:

Job 42:2 I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted

God is omnipotent and sovereign. He is a God of justice and righteousness. When we try to take things into our own hands, we are denying the power of God. Don’t be hasty in your anger. When Jesus was crucified—a horrific terrorist attack—He trusted God, and so should we.

Romans 12:19 Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.”

Do Not Fear:

As images of violence, hate, blood and panic flood our computer and television screens, it’s easy to be overcome with fear. But fear not, for God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (2 Tim. 1:7).

Psalm 23:4 Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

Followers of Christ should be seen as sources of mental/emotional/spiritual strength, courage, comfort and peace in times of trials. Unfortunately, Christians are often the exact opposite.

Have Hope:

Revelation 21: 1-5 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” And he who was seated on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” Also he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.”

Romans 15: 13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope

Enough said.

Be A Peacemaker:

When the Pharisees came to arrest Jesus before His crucifixion, Peter reacted by drawing his sword and attacking the enemy—but he was rebuked by Jesus. It’s easy for us to be like Peter, wanting to defend and defeat evil through physical violence. But Jesus calls us to be peacemakers.

Also by Stephen: Am I a Christian Bigot?

Striving for peace is often radically countercultural. But Christ routinely avoided violence when He could have easily conquered the entire world—instead He chose to humbly die. As Christians, are we willing to die for peace, or fight for death?

Matthew 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers,for they will be called children of God

Simply put, when the world seems to be crumbling down around us, turn to Jesus. Study Jesus. Follow His example. Listen to His teachings. Be a loving and redemptive force to everyone around you. Amen.


Stephen Mattson has written for Relevant, Sojourners, and The Burnside Writer’s Collective. He graduated from the Moody Bible Institute and is currently on staff at Northwestern College in St. Paul, MN. Follow him on Twitter @mikta.

Photo Credit: AFP/GETTY




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