The pictures that we are being shown on the internet and on the news outlets is of a helpless, American journalist on his knees in an orange jumpsuit with his hands tied behind his back. By his side is an ISIS soldier dressed in black wielding a knife that would shortly severe the helpless journalist’s head from his body.
The irony of it is that the supposed ISIS warrior who wants our government to fear him is wearing a mask so he cannot be identified.
Someone needs to remind our President that our government “doesn’t bear the sword in vain [in other words, it has the right given by God to use it]” (Romans 13:4). With the government’s authority, our incredible military is “an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer” (also Romans 13:4). Now is not the time to bargain with terrorists or run in fear. Our government has the right to send them to their eternal destiny.
Someone has asked: “How is what you are saying consistent with the command to love your enemies?”
That’s a great question! Here’s a very simple answer:
The command to love our enemies (found in Matthew 5:44-48) is given to individuals. It is even more specifically given to followers of Jesus … as individuals. As an individual follower of Jesus, I’m supposed to love those who abuse and even plan to kill me.
Yet, in my study of God’s Word, I am aware of no such command to “love enemies” placed upon governments. They exist not to love but to create and maintain an environment where the individual citizens “may lead a peaceful and quiet life” (see 1 Timothy 2:1-4). Any forces within or outside the country that would threaten the peace of the nation can and should be dealt with effectively on the governmental level.
So, regarding the ISIS warriors … how should they be treated?
Followers of Jesus should pray for them that they would come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:4) about Jesus and their condition without Him. No one is too far gone to be forgiven and become a child of God. The Apostle Paul was a vicious killer of Christians before God saved him and used him to write 2/3 of our New Testament (let that soak in).
Yet, at the same time, we should celebrate the fact that our government will not sit idly by and allow unmitigated evil to take place. It will wield it’s sword and effectively squelch it. If our government is just and desires to maintain the healthy respect of the other nations of the world, it will wield it’s sword and crush such evil.