This sermon was written from the Christian perspective, though it contains food-for-thought for people from all faith perspectives

Terrorism seems to be everywhere in the news. With the recent attacks in Brussels and Pakistan, the violence seems to be inescapable. As Christians, we often have to reflect during these difficult times and think about how all of these events in the world personally affect us. Often we direct questions to God or ask him for help in trying to decipher why all of these things happen. We pray for the families of the victims and their immense pain. We even think of our own wellbeing, but what we often forget about are people who might be even more closely related to these tragedies than we are: the terrorist's families.

Recently CNN reported an interview with an ISIS member's brother. This man, having no affiliation to ISIS other than having a brother apart of the group, sat down and spoke of how his brother transformed into a person he could not recognize. He said that his brother was a normal, devoted Muslim until he was a teenager and met radicals affiliated with ISIS. These radicals showed him an altered view of the religion that was "filtered by (the terrorists) own interpretations, colored by their own frustrations."

isis

This past month that same ISIS-affiliated brother was shown in an ISIS video posted online praising the attacks made in Brussels and then executing a prisoner with a shot to the head. Following these actions, the terrorist's family, including the innocent brother CNN interviewed, received a multitude of death threats and hate mail. Various letters, ranging from comments about their family's morals to their religion were thrown at them from all parts of the world.

And so this is when, as Christians and simply religious people, we need to be reflective. Individuals can have their own conclusions about the brother who is an ISIS terrorist. His actions are undoubtedly deplorable and should be seen as such, but what might be better to focus on in the wake of all this tragedy are the lives of the people surrounding him. Is the interviewed brother, who is opening up to this major US news distributor and outwardly condemning these violent actions, deserving of threats to his life and more undue stress just because of his blood relation?

Those who are familiar with Islam are well aware that the version of the religion that ISIS operates under is not what the large majority of the Arab world believes in. This terrorist group is full of radicals who are after their own violent agenda and we should not group all Muslims under this umbrella. But as those who are not aware of these different types of Muslims are learning of these violent acts, it is natural to be afraid of the unknown and group them anyways.

But even if we were to put religion aside for a second, a question we must ask ourselves is do we think it is fair to judge people based on their families? Even if the family members under question are innocent, should blood relation be considered when evaluating someone's character? What do you think?

26 comments

  1. B. Ann Chenoweth's Avatar B. Ann Chenoweth

    IMAGINE by John Lennon Just... Imagine there's no heaven It's easy if you try No hell below us Above us only sky

    Imagine all the people Living for today...

    Imagine there's no countries It isn't hard to do Nothing to kill or die for And no religion too

    Imagine all the people Living life in peace...

    You may say I'm a dreamer But I'm not the only one I hope someday you'll join us And the world will be as one

    Imagine no possessions I wonder if you can No need for greed or hunger A brotherhood of man

    Imagine all the people Sharing all the world...

    You may say I'm a dreamer But I'm not the only one I hope someday you'll join us And the world will live as one

    ...ALWAYS LOVE! :+)

    1. Brother Robert's Avatar Brother Robert

      Sounds like the anthem of a New World Order...i dig the Beatles!

  1. George R. Taylor's Avatar George R. Taylor

    We are children of this universe .

  1. Rev. Rob's Avatar Rev. Rob

    the thing is and this is food for thought, that the Muslims are all in on it, if not participating then at the very lest supporting the actions of terrorists, think about it, how many actually come out and speak against such actions? not many if really any

    1. hsw's Avatar hsw

      No food for thought - only food for hate. Peaceful Muslims are as much at risk as the rest of us. How do you know they don't speak out against it? You may speak out against it yourself, but you're not on TV or the radio and no reporters are covering your words - why do you assume that they are not speaking out?

      1. Dennis E. Loucks's Avatar Dennis E. Loucks

        Amen

    2. Bryan Pena's Avatar Bryan Pena

      That is absolutely not true. You think that there aren't radical Christians? When they pickett the funerals of soldiers and weddings of gays, are all christians in on that? There are people muslims who are afraid of speaking out for their lives, their family's lives. You can't condemn an entire religious people for the actions of others. We as people, need to hold those guilty responsible, not segregate. Thats the cause of war.

    3. Dennis E. Loucks's Avatar Dennis E. Loucks

      So if your relative does something in the name of your faith it's ok for me to judge you on the same level. Your whole faith must be in on your relatives twisted version. I believe it has been written; "Judge not lest ye be judged."

  1. Kathy Kovachick's Avatar Kathy Kovachick

    Where I live my last name is not well thought of. Drunken brawlers, whores, incest victims.Everyone one knew. On Sundays I would cut through the woods to go to church and visit with my Lord. I was a little kid. I was called names and kicked in the legs his parents stood there and watched him do this. I still went back to church. I had a history long before I was born. I was judged and condemed by what those people did before I even drew a breath. Plain and simple I was born into something not of my making. I am not who they are. Don't Blame Me For What They Did.

  1. Bryan Pena's Avatar Bryan Pena

    Absolutely not! I find it just despicable and disgusting to threaten a man based on his family's decisions, not to mention throwing your religious beliefs in his face as well? it would only create more stereotypes for bloodshed! these radicals are usually outraged calling us arrogant to god because of stuff like this! to these people, i say you ought to be ashamed of yourselves. and how can you consider yourself to be religiously enlightened when you do things without thinking of ripple type effects? And besides my father abused me without mercy, and my mother abandoned me for crack. does this mean i smoke crack while beating my children? I turned out to be an exceptional father, a great husband, and excellent provider. these mistakes dont spill over because of blood. Jesus said: who are my family? My mother? My brothers? Why? Because we are blood related? My family are those who love me, who show me support, and help without a price. Not blood.

  1. Memirsbrunnr (@Memirsbrunnr)'s Avatar Memirsbrunnr (@Memirsbrunnr)

    In my understanding of forgiveness is it not so that one only can give forgiveness when a person has spoken out words of regret and/or has spoken out against or officially distanced him/herself from his own or family members atrocious act?. I feel it is not in place to hand out pre-emptive forgiveness if these criteria have not been met. Needles to say threats against the family is of a different order and should never be uttered, and would only be partially in place only when the family speak out in support of the terrible act(ion)s and celebrate in pride..
    The last scenario is unfortunately anything but hypothetical, as can be seen by so many shrines for suicide bombers in the islamic world.

    1. hsw's Avatar hsw

      Forgiveness shouldn't even be an issue for someone who has done nothing wrong. Family members have nothing to be forgiven for, so what "criteria" would you impose for someone who has done nothing wrong to begin with?

      1. Memirsbrunnr (@Memirsbrunnr)'s Avatar Memirsbrunnr (@Memirsbrunnr)

        So parents and close kin are not responsible for the upbringing of their children siblings?

        1. hsw's Avatar hsw

          We're not talking about children, we're talking about adults. No adult is responsible for the choices of any other adult.

  1. Calvin Pacheco's Avatar Calvin Pacheco

    There is no such thing as a peaceful Muslim if he tries to be peaceful then he is not a true follower of islam

    1. hsw's Avatar hsw

      Not even close to true. If you judged all Christians by the actions of those who bomb abortion clinics and kill innocents in prayer meetings, you would come to the same conclusion. There are many passages in the bible that espouse violence.

    2. Bryan Pena's Avatar Bryan Pena

      Calvin that is a very small minded way of thinking non acceptance of a person due to their beliefs is the exact thing that hitler did youre condemning an entire belief because youre ignorance to their faith read up because theyre actually peaceful people segregation is the line that scared people draw to make themselves feel better about their insecurities very neurotic

  1. Ken's Avatar Ken

    So said the Pharisees, isn't that right? Stone them if they don't follow "the law". Then someone we know and love came along and made a slight course correction...should we choose to take it.

  1. Poppy's Avatar Poppy

    I think there's a different interpretation. The people threatening the families of terrorists may not believe those families are evil or complicit. The threateners may just be looking for some way of striking back at the terrorist, by hurting something the terrorist holds dear, just like the terrorist has damaged something we hold dear. Same result, of course, but one needs to understand the problem, if one wants to address the problem.

  1. Brother Robert's Avatar Brother Robert

    It's common knowledge now that their prophet mohammed had a wife aged 6. That's a fact, that's also paedophilia.

    If you worship or idolise a paedophile you must be evil, mentaly ill or already a paedophile.

    The death penalty should always apply to these sick and evil acts.

    KJV only,

    Brother Robert

    www.crusadertemplars.com

    1. hsw's Avatar hsw

      Careful brother - times change - customs change. There is plenty of evidence to support occurrences of what you call paedophilia in christians as well. If you want to get seriously yucky close to home, there's evidence to suggest that Joseph was 90ish when he took 12-year-old Mary as his betrothed.

      Traditionally in history, the age a girl could marry was the age her parents were willing to give her away. Again, times change, customs change.

      By the way, the marriage wasn't consummated until she was nine. I know that with the same certainty that you know what you know, given that neither of us was there, and all we have to go by is the history that's been passed down.

      1. Bryan Pena's Avatar Bryan Pena

        Well put sir no input needed other than pedophilia is an american created negativity other cultures mary young per their customs they dont exactly like us either dont blindly hate

  1. Brother Robert's Avatar Brother Robert

    I wish their customs had changed,

    It seems to be the 99% letting down the 1% in Europe...

    The Muslims in our city of Coventry in the UK seem to be keeping those old customs alive. The police had to shut our local park because of Muslim rape gangs having raped two girls and harassed school kids. They are also investigating all the Muslim taxi drivers after it was found that they had been transporting the many victims from place to place and using rented properties in the area to do these filthy evil deeds. We are all outraged. It's all very real where we come from. Let us never forget Rotherham - over 1500 kids raped by Muslim rape gangs, Evil. All these cases are in the public domain if anyone cares to look it up. We must denounce evil.

    Many of our cities in the UK and Europe are falling victim to these Muslim rape gangs. And it was the daughter of one of our members that this happened too. However, it doesn't seem to bother some people.

    All the best,

    Brother Robert

    (as Christians we worship Jesus not Mary or Joseph ;)

    1. hsw's Avatar hsw

      I'm not exactly sure what your point is in bringing this into the conversation, except to further demonstrate your failure to understand that people, not a religion, committed these acts. One fact that you seem to ignore is that the community condemned these heinous crimes committed by a few. If the entire community is to be held responsible, then the Christian community must be held responsible for many equally heinous crimes committed by members, to include abortion clinic bombings, the burning of churches, and decades of systematic abuse of children, just to name a few.

      Hatred and prejudice have no place here - your Jesus would be ashamed.

  1. Dennis E. Loucks's Avatar Dennis E. Loucks

    Judge not lest ye be judged. I feel these words best apply. My family has not been responsible for my actions since I came to be an adult. How can any other family be so judged? To judge a whole religion on the actions of a radical minority would see all religions so condemned. Those who preach hate based on religion all fall in the same boat and are answerable for their sins and risk their soul.

  1. Rev. D J's Avatar Rev. D J

    People with even similar names can be dragged through the mud for someone else's bad decisions & linked falsely to all the negativity & that is unconscionable. There are too many 'judges' with bad judgments. NO one should be critiqued by anyone else's actions-sometimes just a name can be falsely linked. It is important to know all then facts before judging anyone & even then - we are not the judges.

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