When the attacks happened last week, I felt saddened for the people of Paris. Mind you they are not my favorite people, as I have traveled there a few times and found that out. But I do love the city: its art and architecture, its delicious desserts at Starbucks, its history. Of course I want to go back again someday.
I was in Paris at 9-11. It seemed like no one in Europe was affected, except that suddenly every time we entered a museum or historical site, we had to lay our bags and purses on a table to examined. That seemed to be the only change. That and a moment of silence a few days later at the Vatican in Rome.
When the attack happened last week, I felt it too. I felt like these were my people. A people who loved their city and their freedoms and wanted to tell the world that they would not stop loving their city or their freedoms.
This past weekend my pastor reminded us that God wants us to love our enemies, even the Islamist Jihadists. He sounded like he was shocked at such a thing, as was I. How can God expect me to love a people who would rather kill me, my loved ones, my country, my home? People who do not fear God, people who do not respect life, or even death. People who use and abuse women, children, and animals, and use them for their ill-gotten gains. People who use blood money to further their evil cause.
God does not love what they do. But He does love them. As He loves us. How can He not love His creation, such as it is? And I wonder: would these people be this way if they were born here, with American values, with Christian beliefs?
Would I be like them if I was brainwashed like they were, believing the lies they've believed all their lives? Believing that to kill is better than to live. To die for their cause is better than to save a life not worth living.
No, I don't excuse them. I call it like it is: Islamist Extremist Terrorism. It is evil and we must do everything we can to stop it. We must not be afraid to speak the truth. We have freedoms guaranteed by our beloved Constitution that protect those freedoms for us. We must not give up or give in those who hate us, just for being on this earth.
But I must remember to pray for them. I would rather hate them and be glad when they are killed. But maybe, just maybe, a miracle would happen in one heart and one mind, and that person would see the Light. The Light that came into the world 2000 years ago. The Light that forever shines so bright, even in the midst of evil. The Light that will never, can never, be extinguished.
In this I have hope: God is still in control. God know what is happening. God has a plan. I have no idea what it is, but He keeps reminding my forgetful brain that He is for me. And if He is for me, who can be against me?
At times like this, I am not afraid.