Don’t look. Don’t deny. Don’t ignore.
Yesterday I clicked on a link. I shouldn’t have done it. The warning at the top of the link told me exactly what I would find in the article.
WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES.
It was an article on the current terror of evil sweeping across Iraq, where ISIS has issued an ultimatum to the Christians: “Convert to Islam or die.” In my safe, bubbled American mind, I didn’t really believe that the images would be that graphic. I’m used to having my news sugar-coated. It is a benefit of living in the land of the free, after all.
The images were the worst I’ve ever seen. In all my research on the holocaust, and the horrible images that I ingested as I researched World War II, I’ve never felt a reaction quite like this. I was sick, immediately. I shut my computer and walked through my house in absolute horror.
Friends, the atrocities being committed in the Middle East are the most base, wicked acts of evil imaginable. I will not even link to the articles posting graphic pictures here.
As I walked and prayed, I begged God to help me understand – to give me the right words to process such unthinkable crimes. I pleaded with Him to erase the images of beheaded children, but I know in my heart I will never forget that sight. And perhaps I shouldn’t.
Every day, I scroll through my Facebook feed and see opinion after opinion on the current situations plaguing this broken world. We fight behind our screens, from the comfort of our quiet homes, over whether Israel should continue to bomb Hamas, or whether two heroic doctors with Ebola should be brought back home. We argue immigration, and we stake our claim on the right response to any and every situation.
It’s so easy to take sides from the safety of our homes. It’s easy for Christians to be passive when our children aren’t the ones dying brutally for our faith. It’s easy to condemn Israel’s actions in Gaza when we aren’t the ones with rockets pointed at our heads. It’s so easy to tell one another to “turn the other cheek,” but what does that mean when you are being systematically targeted by terrorists?
I don’t have the answers to this, but I know I can’t pretend it’s not happening. I can’t erase those images from my mind, and I cannot escape my own human reaction to these images of children being beheaded by ISIS or chained to fences by Hamas.
There isn’t a hell hot enough for the monsters committing these crimes.
That is the very real, and very base reaction I feel every time one of those images flits across my mind’s eye. I will neither defend the condemning thought, nor will I try to justify it. I will simply feel it, ingest it, and move forward in prayer for these desperate people.
The desperate people of Israel defending their land.
The desperate innocent in Gaza trapped between Israel and Hamas.
The desperate Christians in Iraq enduring the worst form of persecution imaginable.
I will pray for them, and I won’t try to dissect what’s a right or wrong way to respond to such events. I will not condemn Israel for defending herself, though I do pray that the leaders of that land can find a way to fight without stepping into the trap that Hamas has set by using children as human shields.
I won’t look at the images coming from Iraq again. I simply can’t. But I won’t forget them, either. We can’t ignore this. We can’t pretend or deny it isn’t happening. We can’t be content to simply live ignorantly in our bubble. And we can’t deny that something needs to be done to stop this – something swift, immediate, and drastic.
Peace is such a lovely word. We cry out for it and we pray for it, but I don’t know that we will ever truly understand or see it this side of heaven. Let’s not pretend we have all the answers for these countries who are warring. These situations are so far beyond what we can even comprehend.
Join me in praying for this desperate world, my friends. And please, I urge you not to ignore what’s happening, but I also encourage you to heed the warnings on the articles you see online. Don’t deny the problems. Don’t ignore the evil.