On Halloween, a terrorist plowed into pedistrians walking in New Your City. He killed 8 people and injured many others. He has been described as an animal among other things. His name is Sayfullo Saipov. I assure you he is a man; a confused, hurting, and disillusioned man - a man who's mind has been taken by evil. He was deceived into thinking he would have power and he bought that pretty "package." Yet his "package" has only yielded death and pain so far and no power. Evil always promises more than it's ever willing to deliver. Those who by into its lies are tools in a battle we can't see with our physical eyes. Mr. Saipov is such a tool. Evil will take you all in but it will never rescue you if you get caught as Mr. Saipov is finding out - his god is not coming to help him nor rescue him. In fact if I were a gambler, I'd wager his god is laughing at him and calling him a fool right about now.
Yet while we live there is still hope! There is still good and there is still right and justice in this land! New Yorkers proved that on Halloween and in the days since the attack. Where evil abounds, grace much more abounds! What Satan meant for evil, God will turn to good! I wish I could tell God would step in a prevent terrorists from killing people. I can't do that because God gives people choices, choices to do good or choices to do evil. If He takes away choice, He takes away His love for mankind and we just become slaves. However, I will tell you this man's choice and the choices of other people who choose to do evil hurt the heart of God. He grieves each time they choose evil over good. He grieves each time they choose to become a slave to evil. Mr. Saipov is just that, a slave to evil and he doesn't even know it.
I am not advocating for you to feel sorry for Mr. Saipov. I am not advocating that he not be punished. Mr. Saipov made his choice and with choices come consequences. Mr. Saipov does not need sympathy, he needs repentence and deliverance. And yes, he needs rightful justice. The death penalty was called for for him today by our President. Yes, he probably deserves death, that would be the just thing to do. However, does God give us what we deserve all the time? No, he does not, trust me. God has a wonderful way a balancing justice and love. I believe the way you defeat ideologies like the one Mr. Saipov gave his mind over to is to balance justice and love. The ideologies of ISIS have no place for love. They only espouse punishment and their own sense of warped "justice", hate and war. Sounds hauntingly familiar doesn't it? An old enemy reinvented.
What if we responded to Mr. Saipov the way Jesus would have yet still hold him responsible for his actions? I can assure you he has never known love, real love. And yes God still allows consequences and responsibilty to follow and he won't interfere in Mr. Saipov's consequences even if that is death. My only hope is that if it comes to that, Mr. Saipov will repent and make himself right with God. And believe it or not, God would accept Him!
To close, my thoughts and prayers are with these families who lost loved ones. My thoughts and prayers are also with Mr. Saipov's family who may not have known of his motives and his radical ideology. They are not to blame for his actions, regardless of imigration status. Our politicians are not to blame for his actions. Mr. Saipov is the only person to blame for his actions as he chose to do them. Let's stop passing the buck in this country on both sides of the political spectrum.
I love you NYC and I am praying for you! Remember, there is still hope while we live!
Romans 5:20 Message Bible;
"But sin (evil) didn’t, and doesn’t, have a chance in competition with the aggressive forgiveness we call grace. When it’s sin versus grace, grace wins hands down. All sin (evil) can do is threaten us with death, and that’s the end of it. Grace, because God is putting everything together again through the Messiah (Jesus), invites us into life—a life that goes on and on and on, world without end."
Genesis 50:20 NIV;
..."You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives." (How many more people would Mr. Saipov have killed if he had not been caught doing his evil act? Something to ponder. )
Until next time,