What Would Jesus Do about Easter Violence?

On Easter Sunday this year, almost 70 people, mostly women and children were killed in Lahore Pakistan at a public park. Militant Islamists, part of the Taliban in Pakistan, claimed responsibility for the bombing. The bombing killed Christians and Muslims.
Christian journalists and preachers were quick to condemn this horrible attack. Many of them encouraging us to recognize the horror but also to add this to a growing concern about Islamist groups targeting Christians with violence.
This event is a tragedy that we rightly condemn. The fact that Islamist terrorists targeted a mostly Christian area on a Christian holiday leaves no doubt that this was an act of religious aggression. We join the world in condemning the violence and grieving with the victims and their families.
But we must not allow these extremists to draw us into their culture war. Human history is full of violent persecutions and oppressions. Perhaps, it always will be. Hatred and jealousy and greed are not limited to any one group or religious expression. As Christians, followers of Jesus, we should grieve equally with all people any time such violence occurs. When we allow ourselves to be drawn into the rhetoric of “us” vs. “them” we demonstrate that our hearts have not been surrendered to the Prince of Peace.
After the bombing, a mob of 4000 Christians gathered and part of them lynched two men who were suspected to be involved in the incident. Everyone understands the desire for vengeance when this kind of attack occurs, but we serve a Master who said that we are to seek forgiveness and truth. A mob mentality is not acceptable simply because you think God is on your side.
The Taliban think that God is on their side. They use that belief to justify their violence. Jesus calls us to a better way.
Love in Christ,
Greg W. Burriss, Pastor
Rocky River Baptist Church

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