This week all I could think about was the news from Iraq. Genocide. Executions. Most horrifying of all: children, beheaded like they are nothing more than garbage. Murdered for the religion of their parents. Tortured and mutilated because they have been taught to love Jesus. Watching strangers rape their mothers. Their precious sweet hearts breaking into a million pieces as they see their mothers’ throats slit right in front of them.
I debated whether to post pictures of the murdered children, but I think it’s a decision you have to make for yourself whether you want to see the extent of what is happening right now.
I think you should look.
I think everyone should be forced to look at the dead bodies of sweet babies that look just like the ones who are sleeping in their beds in your house tonight. Everyone should have to endure the horror, if for no other reason just so that we can feel a minuscule fraction of the anguish that Christians in Iraq are feeling right now.
We are so quick to say, while we’re in our amazing American bubble, that we ought to care because it could be us someday. But, that’s not why we should care. We should care because this is our family.
We should care because evil is no respecter of any nation, color, or tax bracket.
We should care because when we see how black the human heart really is, we understand a little better how much we don’t deserve the love of God or the sacrifice of His son.
This week a friend asked, Why? Why are these Iraqi children being killed in the name of religion? The answer is terrifying. The human heart is dead. It is dead and black and evil. And, before we start thinking that we are better than anyone else, before we decide that our heart isn’t quite as bad off as a terroristic mass murderer, we must remember that without Christ we are all dead, living in darkness, and without any hope at all.
This is why the gospel of Christ is called good news. None of us deserves His love. Not one. But, for some crazy reason, He takes evil, wicked-hearted people and He makes them His sons and daughters. He takes out that cold, dead heart and replaces it with one that beats for Him and His purposes. (Ephesians 2:1-10)
When we are faced with the terrible truth of the human condition, the way we have been by the events in Iraq this week, it’s easy to start feeling defeated. But, the children in Iraq? Their Christian parents? They have hope, even while looking down the barrel of a gun. It isn’t hope that the United States can give them. It’s the kind of hope that assures them that the moment their precious bodies are ripped apart by sheer evil in human form, they are present with the Lord of the Universe. (2 Corinthians 5:5-8)
And, His day of retribution is coming.
When I see the pictures, when I read the stories, I think that day simply cannot come fast enough. But, then I think of all of the people I love who are walking around with no hope. And, I pray that the days are long.
No country can save us. I hope the United States will do whatever it takes to stop the horrors happening in Iraq. But, even if they continue, even if the other horrible persecution around the world keeps on going, even if it does come to us, when we know the Redeemer of all things, we can trust Him above any person, government, or religious affiliation.
He is still good. He is still in control. And when those sweet babies wake up from their nightmare and run to His arms, He will never let them go.