This is probably the most important post I’ll ever make. It’s about the holocaust happening against Christians in Iraq right now.
This may be a long post, but it has every right to be. Bear with me. ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) has exploded in strength and force in Iraq. Some months ago, they took the massive Iraqi city of Mosul after the Iraqi Army commanders fled the city, followed shortly by the flight of the Iraqi Army garrison stationed at the city. The soldiers left behind their weapons and equipment – enough to equip the 30,000 troops that had been stationed there. This is equipment the U.S. sold/gave to Iraq in years past, so ISIS ended up taking not just the city, but a massive cache of U.S.-manufactured weaponry. We’re talking humvees, choppers, armored personnel carriers, tanks. The whole works.
Now they’re on the move and have taken massive amounts of territory across Iraq. They’re incredibly brutal, with numerous examples across the Internet of them gunning down surrendering soldiers or captive prisoners. They’ve even brought back crucifixion. They rule their territory with an incredibly brutal and harsh version of Islamic law. And now, they’ve turned their sights to the Christians in their midst.
Under ISIS rule, Christians face a choice: convert, pay a fine, or die. For those of us who know Jesus, we know full well that the first option there is not an option for us. It isn’t and can never be. Mark Arabo, in a video interview, describes that there are reports that even if Christians pay the fine, their wives and daughters are taken and forced into marriages with ISIS men. Christian homes were marked with the Arabic letter ‘N’, for Nazarene. Christian relic sites – such as the tomb of Jonah – have been bombed. Mark Arabo, in the video above, even reports that Christian children are being beheaded. Consequently, Christians have begun fleeing from ISIS-held territory to safer places, such as Kurdish-held territory. Mosul, a massive Iraqi metropolis, is now – for the first time in its history – empty of Christians.
The people have left with nothing but the clothes on their backs, walking in the sweltering heat to safer territory. Thus far, the West has been slow to act, although recently President Barack Obama has made the (incredibly admirable) decision to bomb ISIS military positions and assets that were en route to the Kurdish city of Irbil.
This affects all of us. These are our brothers and sisters, and we are all part of one Body, as Scripture tells us. When one part of the Body is hurt, the rest of the Body feels it. These people have every right to live safe and happy lives in places of their choosing. And they have a right to human life, and though they have Heaven assured as their eternal destination, this life is a beautiful gift. A gift given by God, and that no one but He has the right to take away.
We need to take action. If you can, donate (this is one organization providing help). Write your local politicians asking them to raise the issue of Christians in Iraq and other ISIS-held areas in their relevant legislative assembly. Raise the issue yourself, make people close to you aware. Shout this from the rooftops. And most importantly, pray. There is nothing I can do directly for the people in Iraq now. But God can. God is there, and God is at work. God is not asleep, and God is not blind or deaf and His arm is not shortened that it cannot save. Just as God remembered His people Israel when they groaned in the land of Egypt, so He remembers His people as they groan and weep in Iraq, and He knows our affliction now, just as He knew Israel’s affliction then (Exodus 2:25).
But please, remember: Jesus promised this would happen. He promised that there would be people who think that they are doing a service to God by killing us (John 16:2). But it doesn’t make it any less harder to go through, and it doesn’t make it any less terrifying or bloody or painful.
Just go to God in prayer and the Scriptures if you are hurting too much from this, especially if you know people who are in ISIS’s path, and pray for God to move and do what you can to help out from where you are. That’s all I can really say. God knows how this will turn out, and He’ll move in this. We have to have faith in that.
Grace and peace.