First of all, sorry that today’s post is appearing so late. I haven’t gotten much sleep the last few days and have been exhausted all day today. I took a couple of excerpts from an article on the Voice of the Martyrs website. To read the full story, click on the hyperlink above. The Scripture below is my selection.
Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good. Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another; not lagging in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, patient in tribulation, continuing steadfastly in prayer; distributing to the needs of the saints, given to hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. Be of the same mind toward one another. Do not set your mind on high things, but associate with the humble. Do not be wise in your own opinion. Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. Therefore “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; If he is thirsty, give him a drink; For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. —Romans 12:9-21
“On Sunday, March 11, [in Jos, Nigeria] suicide bombers approached St. Finbar’s Catholic Church by car during the 10:30 a.m. service before they were stopped by several youths on security detail. A wary policeman shot out the car tires and the bombers were forced to detonate their bomb early, killing at least nine church members.
Muslim extremist sect Boko Haram claimed responsibility for the bombing, telling reporters it was to avenge the killing and dehumanization of Muslims. “We attacked simply because it’s a church, and we can decide to attack any other church,” spokesman Abu Qaqa told United Press International (UPI). “We have just started.” The group also claimed responsibility for a bombing two weeks earlier at a major Protestant church in Jos, as well as multiple bombings around the region on Christmas Day.
Afterwards, authorities told multiple news sources that in response hundreds of angry Christian youths burned homes and killed at least 10 people. But a VOM [Voice of the Martys] worker says the deaths could have at the hands of soldiers, rather than protesters.
How Nigerian believers respond remains to be seen. “Christians indeed are aggrieved seeing their loved ones killed every day for just being Christians,” said the VOM worker.”
Some prayer suggestions for this situation:
- Pray that the Christians in this area will be given the peace of Christ and will lean on the above Scriptures to guide their hearts and behaviors.
- Pray for the culprits of the attacks, not only that they would be found and brought to justice by the authorities, but also that they would have their hearts softened by the Holy Spirit and would come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ.
- Pray for peace throughout this region, and for the people of the Way to hold strong to their faith in our Lord and to set an example of Biblical Christian living, “not lagging in diligence.”