It is one of the primary issues of the hour. And the impact and effects of terrorism are reaching to nearly every part of the globe today. It is a term familiar to most all of us, but exactly how is it officially defined and can it really be stopped?
The simple definition in the Merriam Webster is as follows: "The unlawful use or threat of violence especially against the state or the public as a politically motivated means of attack or coercion." The United States Department of Defense defines terrorism as "The calculated use of unlawful violence or threat of unlawful violence to inculcate fear; intended to coerce or to intimidate governments or societies in the pursuit of goals that are generally political, religious, or ideological."
Of course the idea of terrorizing is not limited to the large scale kinds of things we are witnessing today. This activity can occur in the home, the back yard, the school yard and on the job. But presently we are dealing world-wide primarily with the likes of ISIS and others like them. And the source, as we all know, is, for the most part, a form of radical Islam that has reared its evil head yet once again in human history.
The word “terrorism” comes from the French Revolution. The so-called “Reign of Terror” was once used as an instrument of state policy. But the history of terrorism in general is as old as man’s willingness to use threats and violence to pressure others and bend their will or behavior.
But, today, because international terrorism has grown so fierce, sophisticated and pervasive, it has the entire globe on edge and trying to somehow solve the rising menace. It allows small groups, or even an individual, to exert an influence disproportionate to their size. And groups are hard to even find because they do not exist in any one place, at one time or under one government.
Recently, I did a quick search online that revealed hundreds of articles on how to defeat global terrorism. The ideas covered the entire spectrum. But there was but one idea that stuck out as unique. The title read as follows: "The only way to defeat terrorism is the cross". Amazing!
I could hardly believe that someone actually wrote that. I can only assume that, because terrorism is at its root sin, the author believed best way to cure it is to deal directly with sin. It is quite something indeed in today's climate to suggest that what Jesus Christ did on the cross is sufficient to deal with this brutal ideology and practice. And just why would anyone offer such a cure? It is because those who accept Christ are not only forgiven of sin, but, the Bible says, they receive a new heart and can be released from sin's power. They become an all new creation according to according to 2 Corinthians 5:17. This is a ministry of God's Holy Spirit and is known in theological terms as "regeneration".
Political and military solutions are interesting, difficult, costly and just semi-effective at best. But to eradicate terrorism the real way requires that man's inner hatred be replaced by God’s supernatural love and a respect for life - all life. That may sound oversimplified, but it is the truth!
Also, for those today who live in fear of some form of terror attack befalling them, there is a far greater danger according to God’s word. The Apostle Paul wrote these chilling words in 2 Corinthians 5:10-11: "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men.’" In Matthew 10:28, Jesus Christ shared what life's main concern or terror truly is. "And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell." And Hebrews 10:31 adds, "It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God."
Facing God someday without Christ as Savior is, and should be, the most terrifying and fearful thing anyone can possibly imagine. Actually, it is down right unimaginable!
Terrorism is very complicated in some ways and very simple in others. For those who are the aggressors and perpetrators, and for all of their victims, the solution is the exactly the same – the cross of Jesus Christ! The power and impact of salvation in Christ can defeat the mentality that fuels this wretched scourge while spiritually preparing any caught in its cruel path to face it. Those in Christ have the peace and security that they are justified with God and therefore able to confidently face Him even in a moments notice. Again, both doing terrorism and dealing with terrorism find their ultimate solution in Christ!
"Fear not, for I am with you; Be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, Yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand." (Isaiah 41:10)