ISIS is telling a story. And so are we.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness:
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
–MLK

ISIS is telling the world a story. It’s a terrifying story, full of hatred and murder, and ends with war. In their story, they are called by God to initiate the apocalypse, from which they  will emerge victorious.

Because of this, ISIS communicates exclusively in terms of fear, anger, and suspicion. These are central themes to their story; without them, they have no story to tell.

I believe we have a better story to tell.

Our story doesn’t end in and build towards war. Our story begins, builds and ends with love.

We tell our story in our embrace of our enemies, when we welcome the outcasts, and when we give power to the powerless. We give life to our story when we give grace. Our story is founded on compassion. Our story is drenched in self-sacrifice. Our story gives hope to the hopeless, shelter to the homeless, and brings life out of death.

Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.

The question is, what story are we telling?

ISIS wins when we trade in fear, hatred, and suspicion. ISIS’s very existence hinges on the power of their story, and their story cannot be told without eternal enmity between the West and Islam. If Christians are not at war with Muslims, then ISIS has no story to tell. ISIS wins when we spread their fear for them. ISIS wins when we vent angrily on social media. ISIS wins when we can’t see a Muslim in public without a twinge of suspicion in our hearts.

ISIS wins when we tell their story.

But we have such a better story to tell.

So let’s tell it! But let’s not whisper it with hashtags and flag-tinged profile pictures. Let’s shout it with our actions and with our wallets. Let’s invite our Muslim neighbors into our homes, and go with them into their mosques. Let’s sever ISIS’s recruiting lines by loving so well that no young Muslim men would believe the fairy tale that Christians want war.

Let’s make damn sure the thousands and thousands of Syrian refugees (who are fleeing the same evil we recoiled from in Paris!) hear our story of love as we open our wallets to feed them, house them, and give them a future.

Let’s pray for Paris. Let’s pray for Beirut. Let’s pray for Kenya. Let’s pray and pray and pray and pray for all of the victims, not just the white victims.

And let’s show our love right here at home, to anyone we know who has a different view of how to respond to ISIS than we do. Let’s listen, let’s seek to understand, let’s respect, especially when we disagree.

Let’s tell the world our story. May our story of faith, hope, and love prove more compelling than ISIS’s story of hatred, fear, and suspicion.

Darkness cannot drive out darkness:
only light can do that.
Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.
–MLK

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About Tim Owens

I'm a husband, father, and Christ follower. I also live in Albany, NY, where I work as a pastor.
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2 Responses to ISIS is telling a story. And so are we.

  1. Anonymous says:

    Thank you Pastor Tim for the proper insight, we are to love, comfort, show compassion to all and with our love compassion and comfort we can drive out the darkness and let the light of Christ shine.

  2. tlanglois@reagan.com says:

    Good morning Tim. It has been quite awhile since I have heard anything from you. Hope all is good. Do miss you and your family. Tom Langlois

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