As a caution to my readers, this post has strong religious overtones. If religion isn't your thing, feel free to stop reading.
In light of the events in Paris, a hashtag quickly gained popularity to be the main trending hashtag on social media. The hashtag? #prayforparis
This got me thinking. Specifically, two major thought trains emerged.
1. The fact that #prayforparis is trending shows us that in times of tragedy and devastation, people go to God. It wasn't #thinkingofparis or #goodvibestoparis or even #parisstrong. It's #prayforparis. Deep down, people know that when things get bad, there is One who is good. When times are tough, there is One who can take it. When tragedy strikes, we cling to the One who never fails.
2. The other train of thought is this. We can make hashtag after hashtag and light up building after building to commemorate victims of terrorism, but when will it stop? The answer, it won't. The world is inherently evil. Terrorism has existed for thousands of years (though it's taken many forms and names over the years).
Here's what I propose, in addition to praying for Paris or Lebanon or Israel, et al, how about we pray for the TERRORISTS. Why? Because there will continue to be victims that we rally behind if the terrorists continue to terrorize. So, why not pray that God changes the hearts of the terrorists? He can. He is able to turn their hearts away from evil. He can change their mindset and he absolutely is strong enough to do so.
Until we start praying for our enemies, terrorists...those who persecute us, we won't see an end to this. Because terrorism will continue to grow and foster and pollute the minds of each generation until that generation begins to acknowledge that Jesus is Lord. And until that day, we will continue to struggle and fight and live in fear.
Pray for those that hate us. Pray for those that persecute us. Pray for those that want to kill us. Pray that they acknowledge the grace and love and compassion of Jesus.