First of all my deepest condolences with the LGBT-community and their families and friends. I’m sorry for your loss.
It is hard to read the news these days, but I can’t say I don’t want to read the news anymore, because I can’t ignore what is happening.
Many people are discussing who was the terrorist, and what were his motives? I don’t know the man. But clearly, he was crazy and evil. His actions were demonic. His evilness came from the devil.
How should we respond as Christians?
1. Seek God
We should seek Jesus with all our heart: Then you will call on me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. 13 You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. 14 I will be found by you,” declares theLord (Jer 29:12-14). Jesus is our Lord and savior. We should pray, worship, read the Bible, and attend a Christ-centered church. We must seek Jesus. He will give us the armor of God (Eph 6:10-18)
2. Love our neighbor
Love our Muslim neighbor. We don’t like Islam and we disagree in many ways with the Muslims, but we should love them. We know that Muslims are different, and not all Muslims are terrorists.
Here comes a hard one. We should love the terrorists. We should love our enemy neighbor. We should ask Jesus to help us. Jesus can teach us. We hate the terrorist’s evil actions, but behind the evilness, there is a man, a human being created by God. There is hope. Paul was a prosecutor of Christians, but he met Jesus in a vision and repented and became a a follower of Jesus and an apostle. Scripture guides us how to love our enemies:
“When will it snow? My daughter asked me a few days ago.
“I don’t know. It may take a while”, I replied.
“No!” Her disappointment was obvious.
Then the meteorologists predicted snow, but the snow stayed away from my part of the country, until we woke up to a snowstorm, Sunday morning. Snow became sleet and rain, and we, grown-ups, nodded to each other.
Now Monday afternoon I can see I was wrong. The snow lies as a blanket on my lawn, bathed in sunshine.
The meteorologists say it won’t snow again for some time now. They might be wrong.
We can make ourselves wise and clever, but we can’t predict everything. I don’t think anybody foresaw the terror attack on Paris.
Every time I read the news or observe discussions (quarrels) on Facebook, it seems like there will soon come an ice age in the entire world. Many meters of snow has fallen into the ventricles of the Islamists.
Will it be Christmas? Can Christmas-joy grow in the frozen ground this year?
Suddenly, something else steps into my mind.
Jesus does not criticize the outcast, the sinners or gentiles. No, he criticizes the religious people, the Jews who want to rule, who desire power, who point fingers at other people and say about themselves that they are so holy and good and righteous. They are judgmental and boast about themselves. Are the Pharisees and the scribes a historical phenomenon, or do they exist today?
Many Christians know the Bible well and they easily recognize other people’s sin. I do believe there exist judgmental self-righteous religious Pharisees among the Christians today. I’ve met a few. In fact, there is sitting a Pharisee right beside me. She is not happy to admit that sometimes she accidentally points fingers at other people, sometimes she easily sees other people’s mistakes, and sometimes she grieves the lack of inclusion and love among Christians. Who is she?
The other day we sat at our dinner table, and my son told us about his dreams about becoming a farmer when he has grown up. I asked my 4-year-old daughter what she wanted to become when she becomes an adult. Her answer came as a surprise to me, but before I tell you what she answered, I will tell you what I dreamed about in my childhood and youth.
Too many dreams
When I was a child and in my youth, I dreamed about being good at something, to have success and to be meaningful to other people. I’ve dreamed about becoming a singer, a dancer, an actress, an artist, a journalist, an author, teacher or a pastor. When theology didn’t work for me, I was educated a kindergarten teacher and deacon, which I later found out was not my dream job. I got the education, but there was no job for me. I dreamed about having a career, but it began to look like a fantasy or that I should wait for I don’t know how long.
When I was a child, I never thought about starting my own family, but some time after I was married and I was about 24 I looked at all my cousins and my siblings who all had children, and I thought “ok, maybe I should also have some children.”
I have been mourning the last days over the terrorist attack that happened in my country, Denmark, and the murder of 21 Christians Egyptians. I have been in chock, angry, sad, felt powerless, confused, and my thoughts have been racing back and forth, not knowing where to go. I mourn that a 22-year-old “kid” whose parents were refugees from Palestine, and he was born and raised and went to Danish schools, and he ended up the way he did. He was taught to hate Jews and apparently, he was radicalized in prison. I wish someone had preached the gospel to him. I cannot understand how he became an extremist. I cannot just blame his parents or the Islamic teaching he had received.
I and many Danes feel that we have failed, as a society, and individually. We feel guilt that he didn’t feel he was a part of our society and didn’t believe in our values. It can happen again. I pray my nation’s politicians, judges, police, teachers and social workers can improve their work to integrate people in my nation.
I have a feeling I haven’t done enough. Recently I’ve been more aware of what it means to follow Christ. I have not loved enough. These days, I’m studying the commandments of love. As a part of my study I’m reading the Christian philosopher Søren Kierkegaard’s book, Works of love, which is about Christian love, agape, and I will refer to this book in the following text.
I shall love my neighbor. My neighbors are not just my family and friends, my neighbors are everyone. We are all human beings. The Danish philosopher K.E. Løgstrup said
“We never have anything to do with another human being without holding some portion of his life in our hands.”
I have a continuing debt to love other people (Romans 13:8).