Although I have my thoughts on what is going on in the world pertaining to the torture and martyrdom of Christians, a better question might be, “What does love think?” I have been particularly struck by a phrase in 1 Corinthians 3:5 (NKJV), “(Love) thinks no evil.” Other translations such as the NIV render the text as “it keeps no record of wrongs.” In either case, I would like to explore the question, what does love think and do my thoughts align with it?
Certainly, there is evil in the world, but how does love react and respond to it? Jesus proclaimed in Matthew 5:44, “But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (NIV) I cannot help but come to the conclusion that the contemporary Christian response to evil in this world does not line up with the words of Jesus. A prominent Christian celebrity was recently asked what should happen to members of the Islamic terrorist organization, ISIS. He said, “Convert them or kill them. One or the other." That sounds a whole lot like their stance against Christians, “Convert or die." It might sound like a very reasonable response to terror and evil, but it does not reflect the message of Jesus, nor can it be reconciled with the words of Paul in 1 Corinthians 13.
The graphic images of Christians being beheaded for their faith, certainly causes a sickening reaction that seemingly cries out for justice or even revenge, but the question still remains, “What does love think?” Eugene Peterson in The Message paraphrases the text, “(Love) doesn’t keep score of the sins of others." This expression of love seems to go one step beyond forgiveness in the sense that it does not even record or count the offense. This does not seem to be humanly possible because there is so much evil and sin around us. At times, living up to the standard that Jesus set for us seems much more difficult than the old covenant and it’s “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth."
Without a doubt, the way of love is too difficult for us to accomplish in our own strength or ability. When we see what it actually means, we may not even be inclined to try, but we must remember that we were not always as lovable as we are now. “But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.” Romans 5:8 (NLT)
When we see evil and injustice, we must never forget that God sees it too and we must have the confidence that ultimately he will set everything right. We must choose to confront evil with love and prayer because we have been entrusted with the “ministry of reconciliation.” It does not seem natural to not keep a scorecard regarding evil, whether it’s politicians who irritate us or terrorists who want to kill us, our mission is clear. We know now what love thinks and does because Jesus demonstrated it for us. “Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing. That is what God has called you to do, and he will grant you his blessing.” 1 Peter 3:9 (NLT). Let us begin to pray earnestly that God would touch the hearts of our enemies and evil people and draw them onto himself.