Guarding Our Spiritual Health
(Source: Cole Richards, the president of The Voice of the Martyrs, in the March 2021 The Voice of the Martyrs magazine. Edited for length and age-appropriateness. Photo: Sharing the gospel. The Christian’s face is covered to protect his identity.)
Mr. Richards’ Comments
Muslim violence against Christians in Nigeria continues, and is increasing in many other African countries.
The Bible teaches that there is righteous anger. But sinful anger makes our souls sick. When we are angry about the wickedness of those who attack Christians, we must work to guard our spiritual health.
For almost 20 years, since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, I have spent nearly every day responding to the violence of Muslim attackers. I have done so in the service of our country as a military officer, and in the service of the Lord and persecuted Christians with VOM.
All glory belongs to God alone, and it is a sin for anyone to try to steal it. (See Acts 12:23.) In the same way, God reserves vengeance for Himself. [Vengeance is punishment for harming or offending someone.] God says, “Vengeance is mine; I will repay” (Hebrews 10:30). It is a matter of our faith — our trust and confidence in God — that we rest in His promise.
We must never allow anger to turn to hatred. We must love our enemies and work to see them reached with the gospel’s truth (Matthew 5:44).
In VOM stories, you can meet persecuted Christians who have suffered from attacks by terrorists. Yet they have found that God’s grace gives them power to forgive their enemies and reach out to them with God’s love. I pray that each of us will be able to do likewise, inspired by their examples.