Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. Romans 12:2
It was this past Resurrection Sunday and Pakistani widow and mother, Shama Pervez, was in tears.
It had begun as a beautiful Sunday. Indeed, it was so beautiful, her son, a fifth-grader at the local Catholic High School, had put in considerable effort convincing her that they should get out of the house and visit the local park. Mother had her reservations. Their city, Lahore, had seen more than its share of political unrest. Still, a young boy can be most convincing, and, eventually, Pervez gave in to her 11-year-old.
That boy was one of those who were killed when the suicide bomber flipped the trigger on his crude weapon of murder. The ball bearings packed around the explosive tore through the crowded park. It killed more than 70 and wounded another 300.
Almost immediately a Taliban subgroup, Jamaat-ul-Ahrar, proudly took credit for the terrorist act. They rejoiced that so many Christian women and children, their primary targets, had been killed on the day which traditionally celebrates the Savior's conquest of death. What none of their press releases said was this: "The vast majority of those who were killed in that park were followers of Islam." The terrorists didn't mention it because they really didn't care whom they killed. They just wanted a worldwide reaction to their twisted commitment to their god.
As I read that report, I was horrified. It is that horror that reveals the purpose of this devotion.
You see, there are many around us who believe all religions are the same. The events which took place in that Pakistani park prove that not to be true.
Can you imagine any Christian group calling for volunteers who will indiscriminately murder others? Can you think of any Christian organizations who would think such a bombing would please or honor the Savior? And if such a group or organization did come about, would not the great majority of the Christian community rise up in righteous indignation and condemn such a violation of the Lord's call to love our enemies?
No, all religions are not alike.
Christianity is different.
It is different because of the sacrifice and forgiveness won by the Savior. Because Jesus has reconciled us with the Heavenly Father, we no longer are conformed to this world. Wishing to honor the Savior, we do all we can to discern God's will and do that which is good and acceptable and perfect.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, first I pray for those brothers and sisters who, following Jesus, are surrounded by those who hate them. Grant them courage, safety and protection. At the same time I pray that I may lead a life that glorifies my Savior and Lord. It is in His Name I pray. Amen.
In Christ I remain His servant and yours,
Pastor Ken Klaus
Speaker emeritus of The Lutheran Hour®
Lutheran Hour Ministries