Sunday, July 20, 2014

Radical obedience: Abubakar Shekau

"You have heard that it was said, 'YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. (Matthew 5:43-45 NASB)

This is the fourth part of our praying for terrorist series, and to make this a little more understandable for those who are new to this series, I've repeated the opening of the third part from last week. Please bear with me.  
In obedience to the command of Christ to love our enemies and pray for those who persecute us, we are taking one terrorist a week and praying for them. I recognize it seems a shocking and outrageous thing to do. Frankly, I would prefer to write a cute Maggie story. Regardless, these people have sworn to destroy us and they are our enemies. 

Loving them begins with prayer, just as Jesus said. Loving the terrorists does not mean we trust them nor that we invite them in with their bombs. Loving them, in my opinion (which may or may not count for much) involves praying for them to come to Christ. Once they come to Christ, more will be involved, but for now, praying is a good start.  Think of it as radical obedience. 

The fourth of the terrorists for whom we need to pray is Abubakar Shekau, and he is the leader of the Boku Haram organization. The name means "Western education is forbidden". (Sometimes reported as "Western education is sin") This group has been in the news recently as the band of evil-minded thugs who kidnapped nearly 300 Nigerian school girls. When a #bringbackourgirls campaign began, the Boku Haram released a video mocking the effort. They have terrorized northeastern Nigeria, and there are reports of 22,000 deaths in Nigeria due to the fighting. 

They have captured several towns and are expanding their impact throughout the area in an attempt to gain control of the region. Today, the Wall Street Journal reported that Boku Haram has captured the small town of Damboa, killing more than 100 people. Previously under civilian control, Boku Haram has made this town it's new headquarters. 

Dear ones, we need to pray that this man's reign of terror would come up an end, that the destruction would be limited, and that there would be no more loss of innocent life. Pray that all his terrorist activities would be thwarted and fail, that the schoolgirls would be released or escape, and (most importantly) that he would come to Christ with a Damascus road experience that leaves him more dedicated to Christ than he ever was to terror. 

Pray, too, for the people who live in this region to see God's hand of protection and to experience a miraculous intervention of The Almighty. 

Friends, the situation in Nigeria is dire and as an act of unity with our brothers and sisters there, we are compelled to pray. As an act of radical obedience we must pray.