Saturday, November 13, 2004
Grace for Terrorists?
August 29, 1929 was the birth day of Mohammed Yasser Abdul-Ra'ouf Qudwa Al-Husseini.
He grew up to be one of the most beloved figures in modern history. Won the Nobel Peace prize. Not bad for your basic mass murderer and terrorist. You know him best as Yasser Arafat.
What is a Christian to say about the death of a sweet little guy who routinely ordered kidnappings, assasinations, bombings, and tortures? 3 things:
1. There but for the grace of God go I. This is my favorite cliche. It has the time-tested feel of a comfortable old shoe. But it's true. If God hadn't reached down and touched me with His mercy and grace -- who knows? The unregenerate human heart is capable of all kinds of evil. "Not that evil, Terry!" You only say that because you think some rebellion against the Holy Creator of the universe is "not so bad". And that's what sustains the self-righteous in their foolish prayer, "Thank you Lord that I'm not like that tax collector over there." Foolish. Foolish.
2. Arafat may have been saved in his last moments of consciousness.
"Terry, how could you?!" Well, would you be offended if he was? Would you say, "How could God save such a wretch, who did all that evil?", or, "Damn his soul! Don't talk to me about God saving that anti-Christ dog!" O.K., I'll just talk to you about God saving me. I once was lost, but now I'm found, was blind but now I see. Jesus loves me, this I know, for the Bible tells me so. Do you think I would be less saved if it was on my death bed? And if God was pleased to save Arafat, we won't be greeting the little guy in heaven, clothed in his righteousness-of-Christ robe, saying, "Brother Yasser, you were a b-a-a-a-d boy. Tsk, tsk, tsk!" No, we'll both be raising voices in praise to the Lamb Who was slain before the foundation of the world.
(I'm not, of course advocating waiting to repent and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Nor am I very hopeful of Arafat's place in heaven. But I don't ever want to reach the point of forgetting that where there is life there is hope. Stifles our prayers, you know?)
3. We forget too easily the simple wisdom, "Love your enemies". I know, I know. It's hard enough loving our friends, sometimes. But Jesus can do it. We have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer we who live but Christ lives in us. And the life we now live, we live by faith in the Son of God who gave Himself for us. Walk in the Spirit. Jesus can do it.
Shall we move on to Saddam Hussein? "Now you've crossed the line, Terry."