O Lord, how long will you look on? (Psalm 35: 17a).
Delusioned are the leaders of nations who believe that an end to conflict in Iraq and Syria and a peaceful resolution to strife in northern and central Africa can be achieved by force of arms alone.
12 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 (Ephesians 6: 12).
Delusioned are those who fail to admit that the sacred texts of one of the world’s great religions do call for violence against all who refuse to surrender to its teachings.
Meanwhile the Christian faith derives from the life and teaching of Jesus:
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbour and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5: 43-45).
Delusioned are those who think they may continue to live their lives as if there is no God and yet summon his protection in times of personal or national crisis.
Jesus said: 8 “I tell you, whoever acknowledges me before men, the Son of Man will also acknowledge him before the angels of God. 9 But he who disowns me before men will be disowned before the angels of God” (Luke 12: 8-9).
Delusioned are those who claim that God cannot see or does not care about his creation.
5 Jesus said to them: “Watch out that no-one deceives you. 6 Many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am he,’ and will deceive many. 7 When you hear of wars and rumours of wars, do not be alarmed. Such things must happen, but the end is still to come. 8 Nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom … 12 “Brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child. Children will rebel against their parents and have them put to death. 13 All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved” (Mark 13: 5-8, 12-13).
The Apostle Paul wrote:
9 Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honour one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with God’s people who are in need. Practise hospitality.
14 Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. 15 Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. 16 Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited.
17 Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18 If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.”
21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12: 9-21).