Sri Lanka Terrorist Attack on Christians; Easter Sunday and How Should Christians Respond to Those Who Attack Us
Sri Lanka is an island that is located south of India, with a population of over 21 million people and it was horrifically attacked with terrorist bombings. Christians were targeted specifically as they celebrated the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Over three hundred people were murdered, and at least five hundred were injured making this the second largest terrorist attack since September 11, 2001, which is when there were a series of terrorist attacks in America and almost 3,000 people were killed, and over 6,000 were injured.
Glenn Beck, the founder of Blaze TV, speaks about this horrific attack and the fact that Christians were targeted. “This was the second largest terrorist attack since 9/11. Five hundred people went to the hospital, three hundred killed and it was targeting Christians, and it was Muslims doing it. It was Islamist let me be very clear, it was Islamist that did it, and we will not talk about it. They won’t say that Christians were killed, it was Easter worshipers. It is vital that we talk about the targeting of Christians! Christians are being targeting in China, Burma, in Africa, in the Middle East. All throughout Europe. 1800 religious crimes reported in Europe just last year…out of that over 1300 were Christians. 1100 were Christian churches being burned and desecrated. That was just in Europe last year!”
Why is America not standing up, at least publicly, for the persecuted Church around the world? A historical building Notre Dame burned down before this terrorist attack, and $1 billion has been raised to rebuild this building. It is sad to lose such a historical place, but the Church is not a building; it is a people! The secular media has covered this building more than they have covered the attack in Sri Lanka and other times when Christians have been murdered. It reveals that tragedies are being used to push a certain narrative, but when a true tragedy comes to the Church, it is just pushed away because when the Church is acknowledged so is Jesus.
What is the Christian population in the world? Recently, Pew Research conducted a study of the 10 largest Christian and Muslim populations in the world. The two lists show that the global Muslim population is more heavily concentrated in Islam’s main population centers than the global Christian population is for Christianity, which is more widely dispersed around the world. Indeed, about two-thirds (65%) of the world’s Muslims live in the countries with the 10 largest Muslim populations, while only 48% of the world’s Christians live in the countries with the 10 largest Christian populations.
To put it another way, more than half (52%) of the world’s Christians live in countries other than those with the 10 largest Christian populations, while this is true for just over a third (35%) of the world’s Muslims. In absolute terms, there are twice as many Christians (1.2 billion) as there are Muslims (609 million) living in countries that are not on their religion’s top 10 list.
The difference between these two is that Christians are spread out all over the world whereas Muslims look to stay close together.
How do we as Christians respond to tragedies in the world like what happened in Sri Lanka? Jesus shared with us the importance of loving our enemies.
“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 makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” Matthew 5:43-48 ESV
We are to love our enemies and those who hate on us! We can look at Saul in the Bible who was a terrorist set on killing and persecuting Christians. On his way to persecute more Christians, he met God in a moment where God asked him, why are you persecuting Me? Through this experience Saul went from a terrorist to Paul a great founding apostle of the Church, writing much of the New Testament. This shows that anyone can turn away from their sin to become a follower of Jesus Christ and how important it is that we love our enemies.
Ravi Zacharias shares how to present the Gospel to a Muslim. “Most importantly always try to befriend them first, if you get into a vacuous argument you will almost never win it…first, understand your faith well. It is very important for you to understand what the Christian faith is about which is very distinctive from the Islamic worldview. The Judeo-Christian worldview is the only worldview…where your salvation is a gift and that of grace not of works lest any man should boast. There is no other worldview that gives you that option. Every pantheistic worldview, Hinduism, Buddhism, all of them are karmic. Every birth is a rebirth; every birth is a payment for a previous life. If you ask a Muslim, how do you know you will get into paradise? His answer will be that his good deeds will have to outweigh his bad deeds. And you ask him a simple question, do you know if they will? His answer will be, it’s the will of god whether my good deeds outweigh my bad deeds. Almost every Muslim I have talked to has come to Christ in one of two ways. Either through a dream where God spoke to them in a dream or through the love of Christ shown to that Muslim by another believer.” He shares an example of how a Muslim friend of his came to know Christ through the loving acts of a pastor.
If God allows you to speak to a Muslim or anyone about Jesus, you must remember that it is about sharing Him in love, not manipulation. It is not about a logical explanation when you share the Gospel out of love versus manipulation God moves on that person and touches their heart because He loves them! We must be compassionate to all people and be ready to love! We must remember to pray for the families who lost a loved one in the Sri Lanka attack. What do you think about this attack? We want to hear from you. Write to us at [email protected]. Greg and John shared in this segment.