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Straight up (so you immediately know how to judge me)—I follow Jesus.
However, I like to think I soften and make safe the sharp edges that my religion so easily slices with.
I’m ridiculously far from having faith all figured out, it’s just that I know where to go when it comes time to ask my own questions.
And the question that has plagued me since evil unleashed itself on Paris earlier this month is, “What can I do?”
Jesus reminds me of the precious people, beyond my awareness, that suffer these atrocities every day. The ones that flee their own borders and come to ours for the reasons that ravaged Paris on that Friday night.
I know that we are all His children. There is not a hair on a single head He does not know, see, and long to free.
I can readily pray for the refugees, the victims, the innocent, the families and the fear that holds our world by the throat in the wake of witnessing.
But there is another prayer Jesus asks of me, and I do not know how I will come to genuinely pray it. He says I must “love my enemies and pray for those who torment and persecute—that God loves each of us—good and evil, kind and cruel.”
How dare He ask me to do that? How can I pray for suicide bombers and those that lead them with hearts full of hate?
I do not know how, except to ask again, “Lord, teach me to pray.”
“But I do not want to learn!” I go screaming and kicking to my knees, throwing punches and excuses.
I fear Jesus will show me, and I will not like what I learn—that I am His child and so are they, those people who do heinous things—that we are related. I’m afraid He will remind me we are each and everyone made by Him and for Him and in Him and through Him, that there are no exceptions.
Not even those terrorists.
And I’m raging inside that He calls me to this place—this place of praying for the enemy. And yet He calls me anyway. He whispers, “No label but love,” My child, “No contempt or condemnation.”
I think Jesus reminds me of this because the world will not be transformed by digging deeper ditches, filling them with more sewage of hate. The world has traveled this route, nearly to its ruin.
Love is the only answer we have left.
These men want us to choke on our loathing, just like they do. But what if, instead, we prayed for their healing? For their hate-smothered souls to be resuscitated by love?
To truly represent the creed and character of Jesus in this diseased world, we must offer the healing balm of love to every afflicted heart.
I know this is near heresy—to say this thing on a world stage that is under such gruesome attack. But someone has to. And why shouldn’t it come from someone like me, who love has also pulled from the pit of separation and despair?
Believe me, I cannot do this from my own ego nor my personal sense of what is just. But I know Jesus’ thoughts are higher than my thoughts and His ways higher than my ways.
And He tells me to pray.
So I am trying. I have not yet been able to do it gracefully or sincerely; obedience is all I can muster for now. But I pray knowing, coupled with His steadfast love, my prayer has the power to change hearts.
Even the hearts of terrorists.
And we might not directly see how the vibrations of love shift the spiritual realm and combat evil in the world, but we can be sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
You can join me (or stone me) in the comment section.
We are trying desperately to live with no label but love and recruit people who dare to pray this prayer. If you’re with us, will you share this with your tribe?
Author: Amy Crumpton
Editor: Caitlin Oriel
Image: Stefano Brivio/Flickr