Stop - Thief!
The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. John 10:10
I grew up in a country that was in civil war. There were destructive weapons used: mines, guns, bombs, torture, rape, ambushes. The responses were: bomb drills, security convoys, security searches when entering all buildings, compulsory call up for military duty for all and vehicles adapted to survive mines.
The most destructive weapons and responses though were prejudice, hatred, fear, revenge and propaganda lies about “the other”. The political exchanges from both sides focused on rallying indignation and influencing through a “self-righteous” rhetoric that convinced communities caught in the conflict that the only answer was force; the only defence was aggression.
I have a vivid memory of the day my best friend’s dad was killed when his vehicle went over a mine. My friend was only 12 years old at the time – when last we met some 30 years later, I still see the loss in his eyes. He still asks the question, “how can a God of love allow such pain and destruction?”
John 10:10 sheds light on the world’s condition. The thief (Satan) comes to steal, destroy and kill. This in no way absolves or excuses our own decisions and responses, our own actions and re actions. But what it should do is cause us to look behind what is happening. To ask what have we all had stolen from us, what has been /is being destroyed and killed? We need to see this through the eyes of all concerned.
One of the things stolen from us is truth. In John 8:44 Jesus states that Satan is a liar and the father of lies. Hearing the questions in Europe which say 'where is Jesus in this destruction, where is God’s love now?', I am reminded of the parable of the Sower which shows that the Word of Truth is snatched away from those who are hearing by Satan (Matthew 13:19). The Truth is that the God of love suffered and died on the Cross for each one of us. Yet some in our world look for miraculous signs (such as protection of only themselves), others look for clever political arguments that sound emotionally pleasing, but we preach and live Christ crucified - which seems a stumbling block for those who seek signs and religious foolishness to those who rely on military might. (I Corinthians 1:27)
Another thing stolen from us is love. What does it look like when love is stolen? The feeling / emotion replaced is selfishness. The power of selfishness distorts our rationale. We make statements such as “we will not let this impact our way of life” or “we will protect our values and freedoms”. The thought and fear that we will lose what we have turns our selfishness into rage against anyone who is threatening.
Think of all the fruit of lies and selfishness: disunity, fear, anger, prejudice, walls of division.
We need to take our pain to the Cross and let Jesus transform it so that we become salt and light in our communities to the truth and love of God.
We need to speak out truth and show a Kingdom perspective on all that is going on in our world.
Our hearts break and cry out to God for profound losses experienced in Mali, France, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and other countries around the world. We must live out, speak out and be the change we long to see.
International Director, Micah Global