A Dream Ended on a Mountain Road: The Cyclists and the ISIS Militants (NY Times)
This is a story of an amazing journey that ended so tragically. This couple lived life adventurously and found great comfort in the people who generously offered home and transportation and dry clothes when they so desperately needed them However, there is something that Mr. Austin wrote that strikes deeply at my heart. He said, “Evil is a make-believe concept we’ve invented to deal with the complexities of fellow humans holding values and beliefs and perspectives different than our own” He wrote of times when they had been mistreated along the way, but he never came to understand that evil is real. We should all learn a lesson from the lives of these two adventurers. Evil is real and so are the fruits of the Spirit of God – love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. In James 1:20 we read that “the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God.” Martin Luther Kind, Jr. exapnded on that verse when he said, “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” Evil is real, but it cannot be eradicated by evil acts and hateful retributions. Only love can do that and specifically, the love of Christ.
Evil is real and those of you who know the truth of Jesus Christ must “be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 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. Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.” (Ephesians 6:10-18) You must love because “love covers a multitude of sins.” (1 Peter 4:8) “Hatred stirs up strife but love covers all sins.” (Proverbs 10:12) “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” (1Peter 3:9) There’s no better way to combat the real and present evil in this world that with the love of Christ.
So go forth – explore the world – but go forth in the truth of Christ, knowing that evil is real and moreover that God’s love is superior. Amor vincit Omnia.