I saw a man beheaded today...

August 12th, 2014

I saw a man beheaded today. No I was not catching up on “Game of Thrones.” This…is…real…life…

This man was a Syrian Christian who at the barrel of an AK-47 was forced to recant Jesus. Once he was forced to proclaim Muhammed as the Messenger of God, his captors, members of the now infamous ISIS group, announced that no one was to shoot him… that would be too merciful. He was to be beheaded. And thanks to YouTube’s odd policies about what is and is not appropriate for their site, I watched in horror as this man lost his head. (I had to look away…)

Lately this is not an isolated incident in Syria or in Iraq where things are growing worse and worse on a daily basis. On August 4, the Vicar of Bagdad, Canon Andrew White posted on his blog that in Iraq on a family of eight was shot in the face for not recanting Jesus in Iraq. On July 30th he reported 1,500 people being murdered the day before.

Where is the outcry? Only in recent days have I heard anyone in the media mention this...

Hell, (literally) where is the global church?

And why doesn’t this top the news every hour, especially in America where Christianity is still the leading religion?

ISIS which is the radical Islamic faction that has swept through Iraq in recent months, massacring Christians and other non-Muslims has been reported as saying “We can do anything now the world is just looking at Gaza.” 

Have we been so invested in praying for Israel that we’ve turned a silent ear to the crisis in Iraq and Syria for our brothers and sisters in Christ?

Recently I have seen verses pulled out of context over and over in order to rally support for Israel among well-meaning American Christians. Often what is used are Old Testament Scriptures that call for us to pray for Israel. Yes we should pray for Israel. But we should pray for the Palestinians who are dying too! Jesus weeps for Jerusalem in Luke 19 because of their rejection of him. He was upset over their actions. As Christians we do not need to default to one side or the other. People are people and innocent people should always be protected… on both sides.

I say that to bring to point out that the leadership of ISIS is right. The world’s eyes have been fixed upon Israel while Christians are actively being massacred on a daily basis only hundreds miles to the north and east of Israel. In current traffic it's 13 hours and 55 minutes from Jerusalem to Baghdad. (I checked.)

If you’ve watched the news lately, things are falling a part out in the world: Ebola, terrorists, planes missing, religious wars… But the solution isn’t to flip the channel or to binge watch Netflix. The first step is to pray. Never underestimate the power of the people of God on their knees together. In fact, this is what the Vicar of Baghdad is asking for the most. (Read his blog here.) The second step is to keep talking about it. Folks need to know that the people we will one day spend eternity with (one day/eternity, get it?) are being actively beheaded, shot, tortured… you get the picture. It’s awareness. Nobody cares if nobody knows. A third step is to start calling your congressman or congresswoman and tell them this is what you are concerned about. It’s an election year. Maybe if the Christians who make so much noise about culture wars do the same with actual wars, we might see some peace.

The fact of the matter is no one should have to beheaded, Christian or otherwise. Though we are half a world a way, we are instantaneously before our God. We wield great influence in this world. Let’s use it.

(Thanks to Matthew West for writing these lyrics… It’s a timely song.)

If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something

This was originally published on David's blog.

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