Homicidal hatred. That’s what the Vatican called yesterday’s attacks in Paris, and I completely agree.
I would use the word tragic, but tragedy involves happenstance. There was no element of chance last night. The attacks were purposeful and deliberate. More than tragic, they were monstrous and cruel.
Today we grieve with with the people of Paris, with families whose loved ones were “soft targets,” easy marks for violence. What did they do to deserve such hatred?
And yet Jesus said, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you… (Matthew 5:44, King James Bible)
He did not say this would be easy. Jesus is like that. He challenges those who follow Him to show mercy, to take risks.
Where I work, I see this kind of risk and mercy lived out. Three mornings a week we host English classes for Muslim refugees on our church campus. These are legal, documented refugees–and most are Iraqi women. Members of our church family (retired teachers and volunteers) teach the classes. New students come fearfully, reluctant to even enter a church building.
Ah, but just inside the door are Bob and his team with smiles and coffee. An “enemy” with coffee and friendship? The fear doesn’t last long. Kindness and love are like that–they drive out fear. Each year our classes have grown larger, and students are eager to come. Because our high school classrooms share the same hallway, I am able to greet them. How happy these women are to respond with their new English skills!
“Why are the Christians the only ones to help us?” We have heard this more than a few times. The way we see it, these refugees are fellow humans in need. Why wouldn’t we reach out with the love of Christ? And a cup of coffee? And used furniture for their apartments? And day-old bread and produce collected from the local New Seasons market?
Will our mercy one day work against us? Will these English students turn on us with violent hatred? It’s a legitimate question, and one the French are asking. Their welcome was repaid with murder. And so we grieve with them.
“Where words fail, music speaks.” ~ Hans Christian Anderson
And thank you, Carryl, for sharing this video on Facebook.