Jews for Jesus Paris staffer, Karl DeSouza, reflected on the events of the past few days in a conversation with his young son:
The recent terrorist attack by ISIS on Charlie Hebdo took place about 2 km from our Paris Jews for Jesus Branch, a terrible event of that shocked France. Many here consider it France’s September 11. That night, I felt it important to talk about it with my family and to have a brief time of prayer for the country. My son said we should find the perpetrators and eliminate them. I don’t think he’s alone when he says that. Many want justice, others revenge. I said: “Remember in Fiddler on the Roof, what Tevye said in response to a villager when he said, ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth!’ Tevye’s response was: ‘Very good. That way the whole world will be blind and toothless.’” I explained to my children that justice is important but eradicating an enemy won’t change a thing. There will always be others who will rise up and to continue the fight for their ideology. The only way to make a serious difference is a change of the heart in the terrorists. That comes with the Gospel message, the atoning blood of Yeshua the Messiah to clean a person from their sin deep within, and the transforming work of the Holy Spirit. Then I had my son read the words of Yeshua at the night of his betrayal:
While he was still speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, arrived. With him was a large crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests and the elders of the people. Now the betrayer had arranged a signal with them: “The one I kiss is the man; arrest him.” Going at once to Jesus, Judas said, “Greetings, Rabbi!” and kissed him. Jesus replied, “Do what you came for, friend.” Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions* of angels?” (Matthew 26:47-53) (*that’s 72,000 angels!)
Terrorism and violence is doomed to fail. Those who practice it are doomed to fail. And no one will escape the justice of God. So that night, we prayed for the family members who died in the attack, we prayed for this country in mourning, we prayed for justice, and we also prayed that those who planned and orchestrated this massacre would stop what they are doing, turn to Messiah Jesus, for a true change in their hearts, and do what is right. It will never be a religion or ideology that changes the world, but through the One who came set things right. And that change begins in us, his image-bearers.