Hate, Hashtags, and Hopelessness: How to Respond When Terror Strikes

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Trending Topic: #PrayingforParis

Though I would rather blog about “easy” subjects—like the “scandal” of red cups at Starbucks or how a woman got permission to wear a spaghetti strainer on her head for her driver’s license—I feel compelled to write about what has happened in Paris.

I don’t need to describe what’s happened. You already know. The world knows. It’s another 9/11—or rather, 11/13. And honestly, I don’t feel like spending another byte focusing on the atrocities committed by these barbaric terrorists. Rather, I think we should focus our attention—indeed, every byte we can—on how to comfort the victims and their families. How to respond to this tragedy—and all tragedies like it. Here are a few tips…

  1. Don’t hate the Muslims—love them to Christ!

That may seem a strange and somewhat liberal statement for a conservative Christian to make. But before you fill the comment section, let me explain. Our focus should not be on hating all Muslims or “punishing” our Muslim neighbors or even Muslim countries. In my experience, it’s very true what the liberals say—the majority of Muslims are peaceful and Calais-Jungle-migrant-camp-fire-619361would never think of such an action. They are getting fewer and fewer, but they are still prevalent. What disgusted me almost as much as the attacks on Paris was the response by some people in the town of Calais—to set a refugee camp on fire as “revenge” for the Paris attacks. We cannot tolerate these sorts of actions!

I know I was too quick to call for utter annihilation. In my depraved heart, I even suggested nuclear attacks on Syria in wake of this. While I do think our response should be quick, decisive, and catastrophic to ISIS, we must always bear in mind the cost of souls—especially the innocents caught in the middle of this.

Our primary goal is to reach the Muslims for Christ. That is what will really stop these terrorist attacks—if terrorists come to Jesus! It is not your Muslim neighbor’s fault—or the man with the turban at the gas station—that these attacks happened. He’s probably living in more fear now because he thinks Americans will hate and attack him for what his religion has done. And too many Americans would. But let us remember: “Vengeance is mine; I will repay” (Rom. 12:19). God will set the record straight—in His time. Don’t try to be God. Instead be what He’s called you to be—an ambassador for Him, even among the “hated” Muslims (Matt. 28: 19-20).

  1. Don’t just post a hashtag—actually pray!

Paris really does need your prayers—it doesn’t necessarily need your statuses or your changed profile pictures. I’m not going against hashtags or pictures. I’ve changed mine and already posted that hashtag. I think that’s a perfectly good—indeed, encouraged—way to express our support to the French. I would love Facebook to run the numbers of the Americans who changed their picture to the French colors and then send that number to the French people. To show them that we support them. To show them that we—the American people if no one else—will stand by them in this tragedy. They were our first friend as a nation—without them, there would be no America. And now, we ought to stand by them. They are a majestic people, so full of life (and good food!). We must stand by France…

However, we must go beyond that. France needs more than an ally. France needs God. France has become the atheists’ breeding ground. The belief in God is as dead in France as in the rest of Europe. The support of America would be great—it’s a wonderful thing for us to send people over there to help, to send money or flowers to the victims’ families, to support them with touching memorials and lights like they did when 9/11 struck us. But what France needs more than any of these things…is prayer! True, long-lasting prayer for spiritual revival, even through this tragedy. For the victims’ families to find the peace that only comes from Christ. Yes, for judgment to fall upon the terrorists—especially this one still on the loose. For many people to come to Christ through this.

  1. Don’t be hopeless—find hope in God!

It’s easy to lose sight of God in times like this. That is one thing we cannot allow. You’re in good company if you do—Jeremiah the prophet seemed to let his never-ceasing tears flood away His trust in God, almost to utter hopelessness. I encourage you to read Lamentations 3 and discover his despair in the first eighteen verses. He had faced a tragedy similar to the Paris attacks. His city had been ransacked and burned by the evil and cruel Babylonians, with his people going into captivity. He describes his feelings as “affliction,” “wanderings,” “wormwood,” and “gall.” Then his perception all changes…

            “But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope” (vs. 21).

What?! What was it, Jeremiah, that made you turn from utter despair to hope?! We could use some of that—rather, the French people could use a lot of it! Verses 22-23:

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;

His mercies never come to an end;

They are new every morning;

Great is your faithfulness.”

Great is God’s faithfulness—to us, to our country, even to France.

I am the man who’s seen the pain

Of hundreds starved or killed.

Are darkness, shame, and heavy chains

Just part of His wrath’s will?

For happiness my soul forgot

And peace is far from me.

Now bitterness is all I’ve got.

And endless wandering.

We are the people of a world

That’s evil and disgraced.

Fierce storms and shootings round us swirl.

We are the fallen race.

For new attacks we see each day

Against both good and bad.

Is He as sovereign as He claims–

Or is He only mad?

He is the Man who’s seen the pain,

Deciding that He’d act.

He came down to evil’s domain

To face its best attack.

For God in flesh took man’s worst death

And suffered more than all.

He took pain’s power with His last breath

And fell for mankind’s fall.

Oh, I have hope in pain’s worst plight

Because of mercies new!

My faithful God is always right;

He’s good to see me through!

For Him I’ll wait, and Him I’ll seek.

He knows this world’s great mess.

So in His sight I must be meek–

Great is His faithfulness.



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