It has been reported today that an Assyrian Christian in Syria has captured an ISIS jihadist, took him prisoner and beheaded him to avenge the roughly 400 Christians that have been beheaded or killed by ISIS in a nearby village. I read this news with a heavy heart. The killings of Christians and other religious minorities by ISIS have been sickening and each time I hear that Christians or other religious minorities have been rounded up again and beheaded or mass executed, my heart aches. Every time a Christian church or heritage site that has stood for centuries and through countless wars and regime changes has been destroyed by ISIS makes me angry as one more piece of antiquity is lost to the world. It is natural to want to avenge the loss of your brethren and your cultural heritage whatever it may be (many Shia shrines have been destroyed as well), but as a Roman Catholic myself, to hear that another fellow Christian has avenged the deaths of his brothers and sisters by the same brutal tactic, it pains my heart. This is not what our religion taught us.
As awful as the Christian persecution that is going on in the Middle East right now, it is worse to retaliate in kind. It’s not what Christ taught us to do and while I am fully aware of the perilous situation in Syria and Iraq for Christians right now, and it’s one of those ‘desperate times calls for desperate measures’ situations, my prayer is that Christians remember the message of Christ, one of mercy and forgiveness even though none was given. Too many atrocities have been committed in the name of Christianity already, there need not be more. It is especially in times of adversity that we must remember the Christian message of mercy, forgiveness and redemption. There is nothing I can say to alleviate the pain and suffering of persecuted persons, I include everyone of you in my prayers every night and it may not seem like it but God did not forsake you. He never forsakes us, he always remembers us, He keeps in His Grace, we just have to have Faith. There is nothing I can say to the suffering Christians and others persecuted for their religions around the world except the following:
“And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true and faithful. And he said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give unto him that is athirst of the fountain of the water of life freely. He that overcometh shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be my son. But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.” Revelation 21:4-8