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When Jesus said “Love your enemies”, He didn’t add “except terrorists”. On the contrary, it was probably them He had in mind. Charismatic activist Bob Ekblad has written an excellent piece on how Christians should respond to the horrible terrorist attack against Charlie Hebdo in Paris, which I quote a large portion of below. I have nothing to add except a little cartoon about Jesus’ amazing enemy love.
How might followers of Jesus respond to this escalation of hatred and violence? Jesus warned his disciples: “You will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not frightened, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end” (Matthew 24:6). Jesus expects his listeners to be aware that history is heading toward increasing tension and to resist the natural tendencies toward hard- heartedness or violence.
“Because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end, he will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:12–14). Anyone listening to Jesus is told to not be fearful, but to get on with the highest priority work—announcing the Gospel of the Kingdom. What is this Gospel?
It most certainly does not include Christians identifying with or justifying swift and effective retaliation, increased surveillance, growing suspicion, incarceration, hatred against Muslims, or fear. When James and John ask Jesus if they should call down fire from heaven to consume the Samaritans who refused them entry as they traveled toward Jerusalem, Jesus rebukes them, saying: “You do not know of what spirit you are of. For the son of man did not come to destroy men’s lives but to save them” (Luke 9:55–56).
Bob Ekblad has for 30 years been a Christian activist, eagerly working for peace and justice – especially among poor immigrants, prisoners and Guatemalan and Honduran farmers. In the clip above, he shares that eight years ago, he realized that something was missing in his ministry for the poor and oppressed. Somehow nationalism and egoism seemed to be stronger than the Gospel he preached.
At this time, Bob’s younger brother got saved in the Charismatic movement, and simply told him: “You do miss something, you miss the power of the Holy Spirit!” Bob was very sceptical since republican agendas dominated among Charismatics, but eventually he went to the Catch the Fire Toronto Church to be filled with the Spirit.
And filled he was! A prophetic man said to him that he saw a vision of him sitting with men in red uniforms on blue plastic chairs. He said “I believe it’s in a prison, and that the Father says ‘I love how you love my prisoners’.” Bob was stunned. That was exactly how his prison ministry looked like! Then the man prayed for a healing anointing to be released in Bob’s life. (more…)