How Should Christians Respond to the ISIS Beheadings?
In early 2015, ISIS released gruesome footage of the beheadings of 21 Egyptian Christians in Libya. The shocking executions paint a harrowing picture of ISIS’s growing dominance beyond the borders of Syria and Iraq and into the region at large.
In the highly produced video titled “A Message Signed with Blood to the Nation of the Cross,” prisoners in orange jumpsuits are shown being marched along the Mediterranean coastline by masked soldiers. Forced to kneel in the sand, the last words reportedly uttered by the men were simple, “Jesus, help me.” Simultaneously, each Christian was violently beheaded on camera, with chilling after-shots of the tide turning crimson as it mingled with pools of their blood.
These men were fathers and sons. They were husbands. They were uncles. They were neighbors and friends. They were our brothers in the Lord. And now, they are gone.
In our grief and outrage, how should Christians respond? How can we begin to do something in light of these atrocities?
Mourn with Those Who Mourn: The Bible is full of examples of how we should show comfort and solidarity with those who are grieving. Romans 12:15 admonishes us to “Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep” (ESV). Jesus himself, after receiving news of the beheading of John the Baptist, withdrew to a solitary place to grieve. Likewise, when He learned of Lazarus’ death, He wept. Mourning is a right and acceptable response to loss.
The difference is, as Christians, we do not mourn as those who have no hope. Instead, we take comfort in Christ, the ultimate source of our hope, our merciful judge and healer who is continually making all things new.
Join the Battlefield of Prayer: “For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places” Ephesians 6:12 (ESV). God has given us the ability to wage war on evil through the power of prayer. Pray with us for the repentance and salvation of ISIS soldiers. Pray for the Gospel to grow stronger than ever before. Pray for God to comfort and protect His people. What would happen if every single Christian began to pray for the future of the Middle Eastern Church?
Respond Compassionately to the Millions Still in Need: ISIS’s ongoing devastation of Syria and Iraq has displaced 13 million people from their homes. Many are Christians and ethnic minorities who have endured unspeakable suffering and persecution. ISIS wants these people wiped out. Their highest aim is to remove any ideological obstacles that stand in the way of total power. They want these refugees to lose hope, starve, and die from sickness and exposure.
So what’s the most practical way to fight the advancement of ISIS? We must unite together to relentlessly preserve and protect the very people they aim to destroy.
Our partners are working around the clock to distribute life-saving supplies to families in need: staple food items, clean water, warm bedding, winter clothing, medicine, and more. We are also in the early weeks of operation of our mobile medical clinics, which are providing relief to communities where there is no other access to medical care.
As more and more innocent people fall victim to ISIS’s carnage, the global Church must join together to save lives. A gift of as little as $20 can help provide food and medicine for a refugee child for one month—just think of what $100, $500, or even $1,000 can do.
We cannot allow ourselves to be paralyzed by the evil we see in our world. We must respond boldly, knowing that despite the chaos we see, our God is still in control.
Stand with us today for our brothers and sisters in the Middle East. And please, please continue to pray with us for the families of those who have given their lives in the name of Jesus.