There is good reason. The horror of watching 21 Christians beheaded by ISIS in Libya will make anyone with a conscience recoil. The idea that 21 commited to the ideal of loving your neighbor would be executed by anyone is terrible enough, but to think it would be done by followers of Islam is even more befuddling. Even the Quoran speaks of Jesus as a prophet and considers Christians ‘people of the book’. With the execution of the 21, ISIS again shows the evil it is.
To add further to the confusion of our times, though, many in the press want to use religion and extremism in the same way, as if to say anyone who is religious is an extremist of some type. As usual with the press, it is a blended truth. As a Christian, I and others I know resist violence of all kinds. I have Yazidi friends who are coming to my house for dinner. My only hope is to love them and continue to build a friendship God is using. Never would I or my Christian friends wish harm on them or try tactics to forcibly convert them in any way. In their suffering, in fact, our family has seen the suffering of Jesus. Christians are simply not fanatics of a violent kind, and love your neighbor means love everybody.
And there is the difference – Christians are called to be extremists of the kindest kind. Consider what might happen if Christians were extremely devoted to these teachings of Jesus in Matthew 5.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
If we were extremists aboout these verses, what would happen? These words from our Savior seem ready to explode in our day, and the resulting detonation would be a love that builds freindships and understanding far beyond what any ISIS bomb or suicide vest could destroy.
To say it simply, maybe it is time for Christians to show the extremism we offer, and in it the world will see our radically different way.
(thank you for reading, if you found Jesus in this please comment and share)