Outreach Posters’ November campaign

It’s hard to get too worked up about the fate of an ISIS soldier. He’s a bloodthirsty killer and a fanatic with whom you can’t reason. Most of the world has quietly agreed it’s best to hunt him down and have him killed efficiently. And just how cruel and dangerous ISIS is can be seen by the willingness of the Western media to endorse this plan.

Beheadings, eye gouging, crucifixions, the mass slaughter of people because of their ethnicity or religious belief – all these are part of the sweat and grime of war for ISIS. Then, when a town falls and there’s a lull in the fighting it’s time for raping and maiming to make clear to the beaten and conquered all that Allah requires. And women are to be treated with special severity. Passed around as war trophies amongst the ISIS soldiers for amusement or sold in the marketplace for ten US dollars, their fate is grim.

Yes, it’s hard to get too worked up about the fate of an ISIS soldier. But if you are worked up it’s most likely loathing and fear in equal parts. And whilst the loathing is obvious, the fear is complicated. Can we contain ISIS? Who in our country is sympathetic to them? Am I safe? What if Iraq’s terrorism becomes commonplace for us? And could the battle with ISIS lead the world into a larger war?

But the ISIS soldier creates another kind of fear – a fear that perhaps our confidence in human nature has been ill founded. If I were in a different situation, could I be like the ISIS soldier? Am I really better than he?

Jesus never let his hearers sit comfortably with self-confidence before God. He kept unsettling them with impossibly high standards. His standard for the ISIS soldier is, frankly, very difficult. It goes something like this. Because ISIS have declared themselves to be our enemy, we therefore, need to love them and pray for them. The words come from Jesus’s famous Sermon on the Mount where He says, “I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.”

So, Jesus actually requires us to get worked up over the ISIS soldier. He commands us to find love in our hearts and pray for that soldier and really mean it. Remember, Jesus loved his enemies enough to die for them at the cross. And this included us too. Whether your enemy is ISIS or someone at work or school or even your next-door neighbour, we can’t just take Jesus’s love but not give love to others. Here is a prayer to help you start.

Prayer: Dear God please help me love anyone who is my enemy no matter what they have done.

Bible Verse: “I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Matthew 5:44

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14 comments on “Love Your Enemies

  1. Yes, l agree, however when a child has each of its legs tied separately with rope to each of its Christian parents who are then forced to run in opposite directions and tear their child apart in front of their eyes l’m afraid That if l was their l could not release the trigger until all the ammunition was spent.

    Who are we to love more? Our children or our enemy? Tell me, honestly, if it were your child what then?

    I would recommend a video documentary “First comes Saturday then comes Sunday” to see what we are up against, with, as far as l am concerned an unfortunate demon possessed religion.

    As well I think that within the safety and comfort of Australia and not subject to torture it is all too easy to say “Love your enemy”. The conversation runs deeper than that.

    • I commented below, and then I read yours. Oh, Nigel – you have made a very good point … and I agree with much of what you have said. I feel the depth of that anger, grief & pain – not only for your response, but mostly for those poor parents. I am not sure if what you describe is actual, but it would not be beyond the horrific things we see coming out of these brutal terrorists. They do remind us of what it must have been like in AD30 for the Middle East then under Roman oppression. But the brutality which our LORD suffered in His passion was still less than the horror of His submission to the judgement of God His Father on our behalf … for our sins to be dealt with under full justice. This is the One who forgave those who did everything to Him even as He hung there. I hope David Ould can provide us with a bit more on how to do this humanly impossible task of loving our enemies!!

  2. Could we possibly imagine ourselves as someone’s enemy? No – far be it!! And yet, there may be someone out there having real problems with us, for whom the name Owen, David, or xxx (your name) is the person that comes to mind when they think “How can I love my enemy?” OK, we may not “persecute” others … but do we love others? Do we do this the way God tells us to do? Do we do it the way Christ did it? In the end, we need to remember back to the start … the time when we were God’s enemies – and He loved us even then! And we need to remember how Jesus taught His disciples to pray “forgive us our sins, as we forgive those who sin against us”. And we need God’s love to fill us, as the first of the fruits of His Holy Spirit … so that we may love God with our all – love our brothers & sisters in Christ so that the world will know that we are His – and yes, love our enemies, even as God has loved us, and does love us, and will ever love us!! Amen

  3. Don’t you think that ISIS is just following the Divine Commandment theory Christian apologists advocate? What grounds do supporters of Divine Commandment theory to condemn ISIS? Why would anyone trying to limit their religious freedom to exercise their religion?

    • well, simply because you can only have a Divine Commandment (and perhaps it would be good of you to acknowledge that there are a variety of theories that are advocated) when you know the Divine. Islam has a false view of the divine and thus any “commandment” is null and void.

      • You are thinking just like ISIS:
        “you can only have a Divine Commandment… when you *know* the Divine”. [the other religion(s)] has a false view of the divine and thus any “commandment” is null and void.”
        Keep on thinking and you’ll eventually find the logical conclusion and the problem with this path.

  4. Hi Owen,
    Thank you for your comment. I can tell from your comments that you are a very compassionate man. As an individual l try to cop persecution towards myself, and l try not to retaliate …..though l would love to sometimes. In the end though l have learned that turning the other cheek seems to work out better with the peace it brings.

    This ISIS thing, and the whole Islamic fanaticism is a big worry and a wake up call. What l described was only a smidgen in a 2008 documentary. Do watch it. Will send you a copy if you like. I do believe it is satanic and with all the other goings on in the world that are unprecedented in such a short timeframe I do believe things are coming to a head ……let me name a few – in the last 50 years scripture in schools is not compulsory, homosexuality is open and rampant, abortion and divorce is the norm, political correctness has crept in, our churches are empty, and our country is dotted with temples to other gods and our children are drug addicted and openly playing with ouija boards ……that’s just a start.

    I do believe too that prior to the Second World War that the church chat would have been similar to the church chat now about loving your enemies. We can get so trite at times.

    Do l have compassion? Yes. I have compassion for all the people l see going about their daily business who are doomed to hell. I have compassion also for Hitler and dare l say it Satan in a way because of hell. And yes it would be a dilemma for me to kill a man brutalising an innocent person as that person then has lost the chance to repent. But can l stand by and do nothing? Could you?

    I actually make a point of finding out what goes on in the real world and not rely on the one sided agenda ridden media who don’t tell it as it really is whether it be Gaza, Israel, or North Korea etc.

    Have you heard of the Christian kids given an ultimatum by Isis to convert to islam or die? They were given a week to think it over. Those children refused and had all of their throats cut in front of their parents. Puts our faith to shame.

    Have you heard of the Christians in North Korea who refused to denounce their faith and had their children run over by steam rollers – alive -in front of their faces.

    So, knowing all this and more as reported by christian missionaries l sometimes feel ashamed sitting in my nice warm church, talking to the nice warm christians, singing nice warm hymns and listening to a nice warm sermon.

    There are things going on out there in the world like nothing else before.

    To sum up about Isis and all the other ” filled with hate radical Islamists” I find it ironic that you don’t get this fanaticism from any other religion.

    Lastly, have you ever thought that Jesus was on a suicide mission – Jesus came to love and save. This is directly opposite to Islamic suicide bombers who come to hate and kill. Doesn’t that analogy tell us that something is afoot?

    Can we not see that along with the list of other ills I aforementioned that this is all anti God stuff and coming at us at breakneck speed on a seemingly daily basis? Who would have thought that a lesbian mayor in the USA would have forced all the preachers in the town to send her a transcript of all their sermons because a preacher in the town dared to preach against homosexuality. Who would have thought we would have had a homosexual mayor let alone someone who openly displays it? Who would have thought 50 years ago our children would have all these wonderful role models? Who would have thought a Qantas air hostess would be forced to remove her crucifix recently? And the list of incredible things goes on and on.

    I wish the comfortable Christian western world would wake up to the attack on us.

    Yes these people are our enemies, and yes we must pray for them and show love towards them BUT there also comes a point where as a last resort, you cannot help but pull the trigger.

    • Hi Nigel, I so appreciate the effort you’ve put into this – it is something I am aware of, but clearly still “coming up to speed on”. Again, the comments you have shared seriously move me very deeply … and I do believe that God is pushing us out of our comfy little corners. I also find sympathy with those who suggest that end times must be getting very close … but I am not a prophet, nor do I know anyone who claims to be. It all makes us wonder, “How long? How much worse? And what next??”
      You mentioned a 2008 doco – what was that called? And where did you manage to source it?
      If you want to take this off line, I am easy to contact via FB (not too many there with my name) or via David Ould.
      Thanks again – I appreciate the “push” on these matters!!

      • Hi David,
        I’m a bit of a dumbo….what’s an FB and how do l “do it”.
        I guess what I’m saying us how can l contact you off line?
        Nigel.

      • Hi Owen,
        Yep, I said I was a bit of a dumbo! I obviously had David on the brain, but I meant “Hi Owen”.
        Whoops.
        Nigel.

  5. David,

    Jesus/God commands us to love all people (John 13:34) including our enemies (Matthew 5:44) but He also commands us not to love evil. To love someone is to will well to them – to desire their true happiness. It’s necessary to make a distinction between the person and their behaviour. To love someone who is doing good (as defined by God in His Word) is to foster, encourage and be at one with their good from God.

    To love someone who is committing evil (including the gross and fanatical evils of the ISIS terrorists) is to prevent them from doing evil by whatever means necessary because their evil harms others and also harms/destroys their own spiritual life. By doing/indulging in evil they kill off whatever desire they might have or have had for good and they remove themselves from the prospect of eternal life.

    I think that when God commands us to love our enemies He means for us not to respond to their evil with evil – not to react from a spirit of revenge/vengeance because if we do we become as bad as they are. We still may have to restrain or punish them or even kill them if that’s the only way to stop them from harming others but all this can be done in a spirit of looking to their betterment or at least preventing them from becoming worse. If we don’t act to prevent their evil we are not loving and protecting the innocents that they will harm and possibly destroy.

    The commandment is to love/(desire the good of) our enemies, not to like or befriend them which would lay us open to befriending and encouraging their evil ways.

    • Hi Ralph,

      I like your post and agree.

      Yep, the whole ISIS and Middle East / Islam “thing” is a great dilemma.

      When l was a kid half a century ago the only thing l knew about Arabia was cartoons of Aladdin and his magic carpet. Seemed like a great bloke. Now, like it or not, we now have Islam and Middle East culture in our faces and on our streets, newspapers and TV.

      All in all, it is a foreign way of life most of us Christianised westerners do not understand, nor do most of us want to understand it “cos we’re ozzies ain’t we” and “when in Rome do as the Romans”.

      Our only Islamic education is the seemingly constant bombardment from the media with anti west whinging Islamics in Australia, UK and Europe, crowds of riotous anti west Muslims in their home countries (shouting in unison for hours – a bit like the crowds in Ephesus described in Acts), plus daily bombings and other treachery. No wonder the silent western majority (silenced by political correctness) feel “if you don’t like it, beat it”.

      In my mind we need to look beyond the media.

      These people still need to be “reached”.

      One way – as hard as it might seem, is to befriend individuals and get a “trust thing” going to remove the barriers and start “reasoning” however this will require a bit of an understanding of their culture and beliefs as the reasoning you need to apply to an Arab or a Jew is a whole lot different to the reasoning applied to westerners.

      Makes for an interesting life …….it’s hard enough getting your head around all the christian idiosyncrasies without adding the Middle East and Islam in the mix!

      This said, we won’t have to worry soon when “Chrislam” takes off.

  6. I am posting this for your "edification". Please let me know if this is NOT appreciated:
    Dwekh Nawsha- An Assyrian Fighting Force in Iraq

    by Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi
    Iraq Insurgent Profiles (aymennjawad.org)
    November 6, 2014

    http://www.aymennjawad.org/15612/dwekh-nawsha-an-assyrian-fighting-force-in-iraq

    The fall of Mosul in June to a Sunni insurgent offensive spearheaded by the Islamic State (IS) saw IS rapidly assert its control over the city at the expense of other factions (e.g. Jamaat Ansar al-Islam and the Naqshbandi Army), effectively making Mosul a base from which IS could launch further attacks, including incursions into Christian towns and areas of Ninawa province, such as Qaraqosh and Bartella. These attacks came in addition to the displacement of Christians from Mosul by IS' three-way choice of conversion, death/exile or payment of 'jizya' extortion poll-tax (in keeping with Qur'an 9:29's stipulation of dealing with Jewish and Christian 'dhimmis' as second-class citizens of an Islamic state). Unsurprisingly, just as in Syria where jihadi attacks in Hasakah province gave rise to local Syriac Christian military initiatives primarily in the form of Sutoro, so too we have in Iraq the case of Dwekh Nawsha [Arabic: 'al-Fedayoon'; English, 'The Sacrificers'], aiming not only to defend Christians but also to reclaim Christian areas in Ninawa province taken by IS. At the present time though, the group's role seems to be primarily defensive, and evidence does not point to Dwekh Nawsha as a vital military force to coordinate with the Kurdish Peshmerga.

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    Emblem of Dwekh Nawsha

    Christians in Iraq are of a variety of denominations, including Assyrian Church of the East, Chaldean Church (a Catholic-rite denomination), Syriac Orthodox (Oriental Orthodox) and Syriac Catholic. Within and between these denominations there are competing strands of identity, one of the most notable being that of Assyrian nationalism that sees Iraq's Christian population as ethnically Assyrian. Though primarily associated with the Assyrian Church of the East, this identity narrative is not exclusive to members of this church. In any case, Dwekh Nawsha's espousal of Assyrian nationalism becomes immediately apparent from the use of the Assyrian flag in its emblem.

    This further became apparent in an interview with the online media representative of the group, who asserted that "there is no difference between Assyrians and Chaldeans in the modern concept of nationhood"- something that those who claim a separate Chaldean ethnic identity would certainly dispute. In a similar vein, the representative characterized the Sutoro movements in Syria (which claim a pan-'Syriac identity' irrespective of church affiliation) as "Assyrians also who operate in Syria." Note also that Dwekh Nawsha does not claim any formal relations with the Sutoro groups.

    Politically, Dwekh Nawsha traces the idea of its genesis on 11 August 2014 to the Assyrian Patriotic Party, but the online media representative asserted that the majority of the group's members- currently claimed at a total of more than 200 fighters and growing (initially in August, based on Rania Abouzeid's reporting, the contingent was claimed to number some 40 members)- are not formally affiliated with the party.

    Below are some photos advertised by Dwekh Nawsha, indicating the group's presence in the Ninawa (Nineveh) Plains to the north and east of Mosul.

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    Dwekh Nawsha patrol reportedly in Ninawa Plains, mid-October

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    Dwekh Nawsha members paying a visit to a monastery in Alqosh (north of Mosul), a Christian locality that has not fallen under IS control.

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    Dwekh Nawsha fighter posing with a Humvee

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    A photo released by Dwekh Nawsha to mark the passing of one month after the founding of the group, illustrating the link with the Assyrian Patriotic Party, even as the group's public discourse also emphasizes self-defense in its messaging and not political partisanship.

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    Alternative logo of Dwekh Nawsha including the Lamassu, an ancient Mesopotamian deity associated with Assyrian identity.

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    A Dwekh Nawsha fighter reportedly in the Batnaya area, another Christian locality north of Mosul. September 2014.

    Christians in the Middle East are generally beset by too many religious sect, ethnic identity and political divisions to form a united front to advance community interests. In northern Iraq and eastern Syria, considerable general debate exists as to whether the local Kurdish forces (in the latter the Democratic Union Party [PYD] and its autonomous administration, in the former the Kurdistan Regional Government [KRG]) can serve as viable protectors or pose a supposed 'Kurdification' threat to identity. In Syria that debate has led to the split between the Syriac Union Party's Sutoro that aligns with the PYD and the Qamishli Sootoro aligned with the regime. Concomitant with the PYD's superior strength in Hasakah province, Sutoro can be assessed as more influential than the Qamishli Sootoro that has failed to expand into other towns as it hoped and seems generally reliant on donations from Christians living abroad.

    In Iraq the debate is whether to throw in one's lot with the KRG or to try to push for a separate autonomous region in the Ninawa plains. At this stage, however, the latter seems a wholly unviable project, and working now with the Peshmerga and by extension in the framework of the KRG looks to be the only option short of a roll-back of IS and a restoration of central government control to most of Ninawa province. That prospect is currently floundering as the Nujaifi family struggles to bolster its 'Kata'ib al-Mosul' initiative in a bid to drive out IS from Mosul.

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