They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before thou wilt judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?” Revelation 6:10
If you aren’t aware of the ongoing genocide of Christians perpetrated by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), you need to be. The atrocities committed against our brothers and sisters in Christ, in an area of the globe that has been Christian for almost 2,000 years, are horrific and sobering.
To summarize the situation, ISIS militants are sweeping across large portions of Iraq and Syria, conquering villages and forcing “infidels” to convert or die. These jihadis fear nothing, and they welcome death in the name of Allah. They view with hatred and contempt anyone of the Christian faith, and they are raping, murdering and forcing conversions on a massive scale. And there is no end in sight.
With these bloody persecutions happening as we speak, I would like to offer some brief points for reflection.
1. We must care.
In the comfortable, affluent portions of the world in which many of us live, persecution can seem like a distant abstraction. We certainly feel sorry for those who suffer, but we have no understanding of what it is like to feel the terror and anguish of militants going from door to door, demanding you convert or die.
Yet, as Christians, we must feel compassion for those brothers and sisters who are suffering for the name of Jesus—for they are truly our family. St. Paul tells us that “if one member suffers, all suffer together” and that we must “weep with those who weep.” In a very real sense, we must suffer with them, if no other way than through our prayers and sacrifices on their behalf. The only thing we should never be is indifferent.
2. Persecution can happen to you.
The past few