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Ephesians 6:12 (New International Version)

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”

The unwarranted attack on the soldiers at Fort Hood helps us to remember that those people who serve our nation in the armed forces are just that – people. Whether you are a pacifist or not, whether you agree with the war in Iraq or not, whether you support our current President (or his predecessor) or not, you can agree with the rest of the nation that the tragedy at Fort Hood was a vile, evil act. It serves as a reminder to us that our enemy is not necessarily foreign, non-English speaking, nor a stranger to us. His mission has been the same since he fell “like lightening” from heaven. His purpose is to steal, kill, and destroy.  If he is speaking, he is lying, because lying is his native tongue.

He is crafty and smooth. He knows how to poke at the tender, wounded places in your soul in order to draw you into his plan. Don’t fall for it. One way he gains victory over us is to make us accusers of one another. He preys upon our fears and insecurities to get us to place blame where it does not lie. In short, he turns people against each other, in attempt to convince us that we are at war with each other – instead of against him. Let he who has ears hear this message.

Nidal Hasan, the man who committed the grisly acts at Fort Hood was a man, like many others. He had a family, who loved him and who valued him. No doubt he loved them in return. He was committed to his god as he understood him. He acted in concert with those beliefs as any disciple would. Simply because he was a recent convert to Islam, who opposed the war in Iraq, don’t assume that he was the enemy.  To focus your righteous anger upon him makes about as much sense as kicking a horse for jumping your fence, while ignoring the rider. Just as a rider directs his horse, Nidal Hasan was driven. If you question the nature of the spirit that led him, all you have to do is examine the end result of his actions. Murder, death, mayhem, confusion, grief, and shame.  Was he responsible for his actions? Absolutely. Did he choose to pick up a weapon and cut down 12 people and wound 31 others?  He most certainly did. But don’t sleep. He, like the many who use slaughter to accomplish their purpose, was deceived. The nature of the spirit behind his actions was evil – is Evil itself.

While we grieve for the victims of Hasan’s rampage at Fort Hood, let’s not forget Hasan’s family or Hasan himself. To do so is to deny his humanity as well, which is exactly what our real enemy wants us to do.

It is easy to label people without thinking, and to judge without knowledge. In fact the whole reason we label, profile, or stereotype is because these actions require no thoughts, just negative feelings upon which to base our opinions. There are Muslims who have declared Jihad against the west. There are even more who live, walk, and work in peace daily. While Islam is an honor religion (a religion that demands retribution for dishonoring Allah or a Muslim), remember that Christianity is not. In fact, our Lord and Savior was led like a lamb to slaughter. He spoke no words in his own defense. He calls his followers to “deny [ourselves] take up [our] cross daily and follow [Him]. (Luke 9:23)

I encourage you today, my wounded and grieving brothers and sisters, to acknowledge your feelings of anger, resentment, bitterness, grief, loss – whatever negative emotion this tragedy brings out in you. But please do not stop there. Bring every grievance to our heavenly Father, who already knows with what you struggle. Empty yourself at the foot of the cross. Vomit up every frustration and complaint. Then look to our Father, Jehovah Shalom (the Lord Our Peace), Jehovah Rophi (the Lord our Healer), look to Jesus (the One who came to heal the broken-hearted) and ask for what you need to stand through this horrible crime against humanity and claim your personal victory. If you somehow remain unaffected, then please pray for those who are affected. Pray that all of us will resist the temptation to view our Muslim brothers and sisters as anything less than that – our brothers and sisters. Whether the sentiment is returned or not, does not matter. Our God calls us to love charitably without expecting anything in return.

If you aren’t certain how to approach God, please pray the following prayer:

Father God, we bless your name and praise you with our best praise. Every good thing that is to be said, should be said about you.

Lord, we are hurt, bitter, confused, angry, distraught, and grieved. This tragedy and so many like it seem to be happening with alarming frequency. We know that you are the God of history. You invented time itself – so you alone know how this world began and will end. You control not only our personal destinies, but the destiny of the whole world. You are sovereign. You are all wise. You are beneficent. We bless you.

We confess that we have embraced prejudice against people who are not like us – either because of their race or ethnicity, their religion, their socio-economic status, their political viewpoints. Please forgive us for buying into the enemy’s lies about one another. Please forgive us for any thoughts of revenge.

We ask now, Lord, that you would heal our hearts. That you would help us to respond rightly to this tragedy and the many like it that occur all over the world. We ask that you would give us the courage to resist hatred and to embrace the love that leads to forgiveness. Please cause our hearts to break over the things that break your heart. Cause our hearts to find joy and excitement in the things that make you happy and excited. Help us to affirm the humanity of every person breathing and to appropriately honor the memory of those who have died. Help us to show your love to the world and to each other, and to depend on you as we walk in grace toward the lost and unbelieving, spreading your Good News and meeting the needs we see.

Thank you God that we’ve lived to see this day.

In Jesus’ holy and precious name we pray.

Amen.

Be blessed Family!

Written by Sheeri C. Mitchell for www.Elev8.com

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