Friday, September 22, 2006

Where do we go from here?

Where do we Christians in Indonesia go from here? How do we react to the grave injustice that we have just experienced in the execution of Fabianus Tibo, Marinus Riwu and Dominggus da Silva? Do we have a right to feel outrage? Do we have a right to feel we are being oppressed by the Muslim government that calls itself secular and that there are two types of justice in Indonesia; one for Muslims and one for non-Muslims? Absolutely. But the big question is should we be angry and lash out at the government and Muslims for the injustice? The answer is simply NO.

We are Christians and it is not in our God and His Son's teachings to react with hypersensitive outrage, violence and murder because we have been done a injustice. We are called to be civilized and leave all injustices for God to handle. We are called to love our enemies. In Matthew 5:44-45, Jesus says "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven." We are not to act like our oppressors. "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and say all kinds of evil against you because of me." While our oppressors meet today in their Mosques for Friday prayers, preach their broken political theology, spew evil in their "Day of Rage" and plot against the Pope and other Christians, we should be praying that their plans come to nought and that the hatred and perpetual outrage inside them unleashed by their pagan god belief and the teachings of its founder is extinguished. We must continue to look to Jesus as our example, live our daily lives as He would and have faith that when all is said and done that God will wipe away all the tears.

We must remember when we chose to become Christians that it wasn't going to be easy. Jesus warned us that we would be persecuted because of Him and when we chose to become Christians, we must follow Him and take up our cross too.

Some of you are probably wondering why God didn't intervene if these three men were innocent. Couldn't God have stopped the injustice? Can't God stop all the hate and violence against Christians in this country. The simple answer is, yes He could. When Jesus was arrested, beaten and had His body torn apart and then hung on the cross for our transgressions, God could have sent 12 legions of angels to rescue Jesus but that wasn't God's plan. And Jesus knew it too. He knew that God's plan for the saving of mankind relied on Him fulfilling prophecy and the scriptures to take the sin of the world on Him and take it to the cross to be destroyed once and for all. We have been called to share in His sufferings so that we can identify ourselves with Him. And that means some of us are going to die for His name. How many? Millions and millions. In Ryan Dobson's book ,
'2 Die 4, The dangerous truth about following Christ' he writes about the scene in Revelation 6 where those who have already been killed for Christ cry out to God asking how much longer will this go on until God judges the world. "The answer they get should make you pause and think. God told them they needed "to rest a little longer until the full number of their brothers and sisters-their fellow servants of Jesus-had been martyred." Martyred. I don't have to tell you that He's talking about being killed for Christ. God's plan for this world calls for a certain number of Christians to be put to death for the sake of Jesus. That number is not small. It's huge. Enormous. God knows exactly who's on that list, and how many names there are. Until that numbers reached-until all the names are checked off-the killing will continue." So when we see Christian men like Tibo, Marinus and Dominggus wrongly executed we should know that they were martyrs and that God's plan is being fulfilled.

So where do we go from here? We continue in our lives knowing God is in control and his plan is being fulfilled. We continue to be shining lights in a world of darkness. We continue to follow the teachings of Jesus Christ and strive to follow His example. We don't lower ourselves down to the level of barbarism that our persecutors display. We keeping spreading the good news of the Gospel and we keep witnessing to non-believers. We don't stop the Great Commission because of injustice and persecution in our lives. In fact, the more we are oppressed, the stronger the need to spread Jesus' message. God's love will triumph over evil. I'll finish here some words from a song by Creed called What If?

I've seen the wicked fruit of your vine
Destroy the man who lacks a strong mind
Human pride sings a vengeful song
Inspired by the times you've been walked on
My stage is shared by many millions
Who lift their hands up high because they feel this
We are one, We are strong
The more you hold us down, the more we press on

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