Sermons

Summary: To trust God to mete out justice when facing persecutions!!!

THE BURNING ISSUE

Want to become an international celeb in a jiffy? Go no further than aping the dubious, provocative style of “Pastor” Terry Jones of Dove World Outreach Center Gainesville who was hell-bent on burning Koran on Sept 11 (for obvious reasons) in the year 2010. He had become the cynosure of the media. Honestly, at a time the World has enough problems to cope-up with, who wants the “the Koran burning issue” to become the burning issue forcing International leaders to "burn midnight oil" in sorting out this mess. Sadly after the issue had seemed "burnt and buried", it has risen from the ashes like a Phoenix, with trouble brewing for US troops in ever-simmering Afghanistan...if recent media reports are to be believed.

Agreed those involved in Islamic Jihadist’ movements are no angels, as evidenced by several of their cruel acts against people of faiths other than Islam. While tragedies such as Sept 11, 2001 and November 26th, 2008 (Mumbai terror attack) may come readily to mind for the media attention these tragedies garnered, instances’ such as destruction of an old Coptic Church building in Egypt some decades ago (come to think of it) just because its spire was taller than the recently constructed minaret of a nearby Mosque would remain buried in the obcure pages of history. This act of destroying the old Coptic Church was not only derogatory but also an insensible act flying in the face of logic (since Mosque was constructed much later, could not its builders’ have planned and constructed a taller minaret in the first place?). Worse, it never attracted international media attention at that time, far less any international response of solace cum comfort to victims of this heinous action. Add to this, several senseless Islamic terror strikes around the Globe and the ever condemnable act in Islamic states of imposing heavier tax on other communities and surely a bitter taste would develop in the mouth of many a Christian. But does all this justify a violent tit-for tat action in the spirit of some highly condemnable Catholic crusades against Islam which lasted for nearly 200 years beginning approximately at 1095 AD? Does not the action of “Pastor” Terry Jones fit into that “crude crusade category”? What is a Biblical mandate to Christians at the receiving end of persecution?

We have been commanded (nothing less) to LOVE our persecutors (Matt 5:43-48) and leave the matter of justice into the hands of the fair, Almighty judge (1 Peter 2:23)! Christian victims of communal persecution for no fault of theirs in the state of Orissa in India (in recent times) and many others going through similar kind of persecutions in different parts of the World, would doubtless find obeying this commandment very, very difficult. But when we consider the fact that that this commandment has been given for our good, perhaps it would become easier for us to obey it. What do I mean, by for our good? Examine the following verse carefully and the answer would emerge

“Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many.” – Heb 12:15b (NLV)

Who suffers the most, when there is bitterness in your heart? Is it not YOU who is harboring bitterness? No second thoughts on this score, please! For it is said that bitterness of spirit, is like an acid in a vessel. It corrodes and destroys the very vessel in which it is stored. We are the ones’ who would suffer from increasing hypertension or mounting glucose levels, whenever we nurse a strong desire to get even, with someone who has wronged us. Our health deteriorates, even as the impelling desire to get even consumes us. Would it not serve us well then to hand over (I admit it is easier said than done), all our grievances to the ONE, who has said,“Vengeance is mine” (Deu 32:35/ Romans 12:19).

The claim “vengeance is mine” is no empty boast of the ONE, who has “settled scores” countless times historically. Jesus handed over Himself to His Father, even as His enemies (Jewish religious leaders and many other Jews) subjected Him to inhuman treatment. Add to His physical and spiritual anguish, the torment of people mocking Him, at the foot of the cross (Matt 27:39-43/ I Peter 2:21-23), and the picture of extreme provocation with a capital P would emerge. But did the Son of God threaten to get even? NO! But would the Father keep quiet? The chilling fact that in 70 AD Jerusalem was devastated by the Roman army with the massacre of over 1 million Jews (doubtless including many of those who scowled at Christ in the cross) should remind us that God keeps His word for good…ALWAYS…be it in the matter of blessing (Joshua 21:45) or even “settling scores” on behalf of His wronged ones’!

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