I’m angry. I’m angry at ISIS.
I feel hate towards them. I hate what they’re doing to the world. I hate that they murder and rape and torture and ruin lives and families and homes. I want them to go away and stop hurting people. I want them stopped.
And I open my Bible and the Lord says,
“Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.” (Luke 6:27-28)
But how Lord? How do I love a group of people who hate and murder and rape and torture others? How do I love ISIS?
And the Lord gently leads me to this first thing: pray for them.
It is an act of love to pray for my enemies.
“When I got saved and I was told my mentor to start reading by the book of Matthew, start with the book of Matthew, when I got to reading to Matthew 5:43 and 44, where the Word of God says, “[You have heard it said] love your neighbor and hate your enemy, but I say to you, love your neighbors and pray for those who persecute you.” Love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you.
It shocked me and I knew the Lord was speaking to me. I jumped out of my seat and I screamed so loud saying, “No way! Lord, I will never love them.”
I know what He was saying to me. Love the Jews. I was giving all the excuses for the Lord, why I will not love them. They took my house. They killed my people. They’re still persecuting us. And after I got tired talking, the Lord started speaking to me in my ear saying, ‘They have done more than that to Me, but I still love them.'” -Tass Saada, author of The Mind of Terror (You can listen to Mr. Saada and hear his story on Focus on the Family radio here.)
God loves the leaders of ISIS, each one of the them. And if we want to see change, we must get on our knees for them. We must pray for the leaders of ISIS.
If you’re not sure how to pray, pray this:
Lord, help me to see the individuals of ISIS as beloved by you, as those created in your image and worthy of your healing and transformative power. I pray for these ISIS leaders that they would have a revelation of Jesus, that their eyes would be opened and they would turn to You. I pray you would speak to them personally, intimately, in their dreams or through friends or through a prophetic utterance from someone. You know all the deep places of their hearts; you know the wounds, the histories, the anger, the hurt. Would you speak to them in those places? Would you show them who you are, and how much you love them. Please choose them, bring them to an understanding of your love. Lift the veil from their eyes that they would see you. And please Lord, give them a tenderness for the people they are hurting; soften their hearts; let them see. I pray they would repent and reject terror. I pray, that like Paul, they would have a Damascus-like experience and turn fully to you, and begin to lead others to love and follow you. I ask this in your name Jesus, Amen.
As you pray daily for these leaders (in the car, as you wake up, as you go to sleep – whenever they come to mind), you can begin praying for their families, those they influence, and however else the Spirit leads.
We are not helpless, and we are certainly not hopeless. We fight with words and groans, and we have an advocate that is working on behalf of our prayers. And that advocate, Jesus Christ, changes hearts. So pray pray pray.
Pray and act. Click HERE to tangibly help those who have been victimized by ISIS.
This morning as Caroline and I were driving back from the grocery story (Saturday morning muffins, FOR THE WIN), she looks out the window at a woman jogging and says, “I could never run a mile.”
I have no idea where that thought came from, but I said to her, “Sure you could, you would just have to practice.”
I began to tell her how God made our bodies in a way that we can build up endurance. If you want to run a mile, the first day you might just walk a little bit, the next day you walk a little faster, and so on and so on, and eventually, you would be able to run a mile.
After sharing all this with her, I said, “I wish someone would have told me about endurance when I was younger and trying out track; I just thought I couldn’t run and was a failure at it.”
And all of a sudden it hit me, I have to tell young moms about endurance in motherhood! Because if I don’t say something, say that it takes practice and work and consistency and twisted ankles and side stitches and exhaustion, then maybe they won’t know. Maybe they will think they are failures at mothering. IT TAKES TIME and practice to grow into mothering with wisdom and maturity and grace and gentleness. But the more we practice, the more we keep on, step by step, slow and steady, learning, doing, listening to older moms, staying before the Lord and relying on His Holy Spirit, the better we will get! There is a reason the Scripture talks about older women teaching younger women to keep on, we need to know we aren’t failing (practical tips are also helpful)! We need to know it takes time and work and sweat and tears. We need to know, ALL OF THIS IS NORMAL.
You are normal if you struggle with mothering.
And when I say, IT GETS BETTER, I don’t just mean it gets easier because your kids sleep and are more self-sufficient (although sleep is awesome), it gets better because you get better. You mature. You grow in grace. You are acting out of what you have been given by God. You have been molded and tested, and if you keep on, you will make it through the fire. And yes, motherhood is a fire sometimes.
So get your running shoes, pace yourself (oh my goodness, PACE YOURSELF), and keep on.
This is Dawntoya, my only black friend, and by friend, I mean I’m still getting to know her because she doesn’t even live near me. But, on our way to Thailand, we had some wonderful conversations on race. Also, I need more diversity in my life.
Well, we’ve had quite a week here in America (I mean, more than a week, but this week I’m finally starting to pay more attention).
These events are just the new ones in a long line of shootings that have caused a community of people to feel unheard.
I’m finally listening. And what I’m hearing/learning is this: We have a problem. So I want to get quiet and listen and learn so that I can love. And so that I can teach my children how to love well. For the past few days I’ve been thinking and praying and talking with friends and reading up on race in America. I want to understand. I want to be someone who is willing to get uncomfortable in order to lean in to a perspective I’ve never had. I’m seeing disparity between black voices and white voices all over, and I want to understand it; I don’t want to ignore it. I want to say, “Teach me.” Or better yet, “I will take the initiative to learn so I can understand, so I can love and be on the side of justice when necessary.”
“Not everything that is faced can be changed. But nothing can be changed until it is faced.” -James Baldwin
I’m going to go ahead and preface this right now by saying if you have all this race stuff figured out, ignore this post. I do not have it figured it out. I thought I knew a lot more than I did, but the truth is, I don’t know.
If you want to learn along with me, I’ve gathered some resources and you can check them out below.
Here are the questions I’m asking as I read and listen to these perspectives: Could this be true? Is it possible I don’t have clarity on some of these issues that I thought I had? If this is true, what does it mean? How can I go forward? How can I love? These are my questions.
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” John 13:34
Start with this —-> Senator Tim Scott (R) Delivers Talk on Race
Next, this —-> What is systemic racism?
A conversation about systemic racism from two Christian men. Once you get past the intro, this conversation gets real, and WHOA, the stats. Excellent and so helpful. Please, please listen.
“I think if you’re a white person or person in the majority and want to understand the perspective of many minorities, you’ve got to know the ins and outs of systemic racism.”
“Treat others the same way you want them to treat you.” Luke 6:31
Begin watching this —-> O.J.: Made in America (This really helped me to understand the O.J. verdict, for right or wrong. And yes, it makes sense to watch it in light of where our country is at right now.) Sidenote: There is a poignant moment in the documentary where a white news man is talking about how obvious a certain argument for the prosecution seemed to him, until his black co-worker shared how offensive the argument was (and she explained why), and he said, “This is why it is so important to have diversity in the workplace.” It was a big “Aha” moment for me.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” Matthew 5:9
“Rather than being reactive, Onwuchekwa encourages people to be proactive—initiating conversations, seeking clarity, desiring others’ perspective. In short, he says, the ideal posture should be that of a student.”
Skin in the Game (Andy Stanley interviews two African American men race and what’s happening in our country)
“Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless, Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow.” Isaiah 1:17
After the speaker explains what he does for a living, challenging injustice (he goes on to list all the things he’s working towards), Rosa Parks says to him, “That’s going to make you tired, tired, tired.” And her friend leans over to him and says, “That’s why you’ve got to be brave, brave, brave.”
An important read on what racism really is: “That is racism. Once you let yourself see it, it’s there all the time.” (some language)
Books on My Reading List:
On Twitter? Here are some black voices to follow:
“We want Justice. We want the country we love to treat us equally. What we DON’T want is violence and bloodshed of any person.” –Derek Minor
“When the world looks at the world and says “What’s going on?” The answer is clear. Sin is going on. Pain, injustice, violence, hatred, and death are going on all around us. And yet, when the church responds to what’s going on we also remind the world that in Jesus Christ —Grace is going on. Mercy is going on.” –Tony Carter
“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.”—Martin Luther King, Jr.
“Black Lives Matter does not mean “black lives matter only.” It means “black lives matter too.” It’s a contextualized statement, like saying “children’s lives matter.” That doesn’t mean adult lives don’t matter. But in a culture that demeans and disparages them, we understand we have to say forthrightly and particularly that children’s lives matter. In the face of a historic and contemporary context that has uniquely disparaged black life as not worth valuing or protecting in the same way as others, they are saying black lives matter just as much as every other life. Ironically, saying “Black Lives Matter” is really a contextualized way of saying, “All Lives Matter.”” –Mika Edmondson
“Church: Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray.” –Humble Beast
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.”
They were outside playing and he said he didn’t want to get wet.
She doused him anyway.
My sweet, wonderful, full of fun helper doused the boy who didn’t want to get wet. She figured it was all fun.
And then he went missing. “Where is Caed?” I asked her.
“He came in before us” she replied.
Ah, he was hiding in his bedroom underneath his blanket. He was soaked and when I went to tickle him (thinking he was hiding for fun), he looked up at me with tear-wet eyes and said, “I didn’t want to get wet, and I told her that.”
My children love Miss A, and she loves them and never wants to hurt them or make them sad. She was just playing with them and having fun and had no idea the boy would be so upset. She is so humble and sweet and she went to the boy and said she was sorry. Of course he forgave her, and they went on as usual. But a lesson is learned.
Read the rest at (in)courage today!