Pretty Parisians get more attention than the exotic brown people terrorists kill. But we must not avert our eyes or fail to act.
Yesterday, as America’s Christians went to church and sat down with family and friends to celebrate Christ’s defeat of death, tragedy struck our community in Pakistan. Islamic terrorists detonated a bomb at an amusement park in Lahore that killed 70 people and injured more than 300. According to a Pakistani Taliban spokesperson, they “claim responsibility for the attack on Christians as they were celebrating Easter.”
Many of the dead are women and children guilty of nothing more than sharing a faith with so many of us in the United States. But while Americans mourn, fear, and post on social media about attacks in Paris and Brussels, attacks like yesterday’s fly under the radar. They are treated as the natural course of things in territories on fire.
But they are not. They are a careful and constructed attack on Christianity. As such, they are a direct attack on us all.
There But for The Grace of God
Most Christians in the United States are shy about public professions of faith. For every follower of Christ who vocally fights for “Merry Christmas” over “Happy Holidays,” dozens simply keep their head down and practice their religion. This is understandable. Christianity, although by no means the official religion of the United States, has been the dominant religious force throughout its history. It is a good thing America’s Christians are sensitive to that dominant status.
But it is equally important for us to understand that this status is not universal. There are places in the world, including Lahore, where being a Christian can and does get people killed. While they might not look like us or talk like us, as Jesus taught us, they are us. He taught us that what we do unto the least of his, we do unto him.
I’m not sure if Pakistani Christians are the least of his, but frankly they risk a lot more in his name than we do. Ether way, how we treat them and react to their persecution is a test.
Deliver Us from Evil
In our modern English translation of the Lord’s Prayer, we pray that our Father not “lead us into temptation, but deliver us from evil.” In the original Greek, the word we translate as temptation has a broader meaning. It also means a “test.” We are asking the Lord not to test us. But as with the other things asked of God in this prayer—our daily bread, forgiveness of trespasses, the ability to forgive others—we don’t always get what we ask for.
We all pray that abominations like the horrific attack on innocents yesterday may never happen. We pray we may not be tested by such horrors. But just as Christ by himself cannot protect us from these tests, he cannot on his own deliver us from evil. Evil is not part of him. It is part of us. Although we seek deliverance from it through him, it is we who must make the journey through.
These are the times when stark images of violence against Christians, although painful, help us. They shake us out of our relativistic musings into the stark revelation that there is evil. We think of our own children, and tremble at the notion that some want to kill them because we teach them to accept Jesus.
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