The world watched in horror at the news of the series of terrorists attacks that killed more than 130 people in Paris. Like so many, I felt anger and confusion. Earlier this year, I had a chance to raise funds for the families of the 21 Christians Egyptians who were killed by ISIS. I was able to go to Egypt and meet the victims and deliver the funds. However, with the recent Paris Attacks, I wasn’t sure how I can actually make a difference. Compared to those in Egypt, money may not be a desperate need for those who lost their loved ones in Paris. While it is impossible to rewind the past, here are 5 practical ways you can take to help with the current situation and help us to potentially prevent future ones:
Don’t just use the hashtag #prayforparis but actually set your heart to spend time praying. French cartoonist Charlie Hebdo asked for people not to use the hashtag because, according to him, it was religion that caused the terror. However, what caused terror was evil under the name of religion and what can cause healing is Jesus outside of the box of religion; we should never put the two in the same box.
As Cliche as it sounds, if you believe that there is a God who cares and who hears our prayers, then prayer is not an option but a calling. There are numerous Bible verses on how our prayers can actually change history while God’s sovereignty still stays untouched.
Ex: James 1:6, 1 John 5:15, Philippians 4:6-7, 1 John 5:14, Colossians 4:2, Jeremiah 29:12, Psalm 145:15, Jeremiah 33:3, Hebrews 4:16.
There are numerous non-profit organizations and charities that can receive help including the French Red Cross; the organization deployed 340 volunteers to help survivors. There has also been several online crowd funding campaigns that can help families of the lost ones or wounded survivors. Make sure you do your research and know that you are giving to a trusted source.
3. Research. Get Understanding.
The sad truth is that most of us in the west have a better understanding of Starbucks’ drink menu than basic foreign relations. Knowledge is power. “My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge” Hosea 4:6. Due to a lack of knowledge in our western culture, we have created a monster and it’s being “politically correct”. When someone doesn’t understand an issue, it is much easier to stay neutral and point finger at anything that sounds “extreme” or “offensive” rather than searching for the truth and embracing it even if it’s unpleasant. Often, the truth is offensive. Before you defend or attack Islam, before you say it’s a very small percentage of people that want the west to fall, before you criticize religions all together, and before you compare ISIS to Westboro church, Do one thing: Research. Learn what ISIS really believes in and compare it to the Quran, Research the estimated figure we call the “small percentage” that wants to see the west destroyed, Compare the teachings of Jesus to the Westboro Church and the teachings of Mohammad to ISIS. Once you get a hold to what you believe is the truth. Hold on to it and stand for it no matter how unpopular it is.
4. Share Knowledge No Matter The Cost.
The truth will set us free. When you get a hold to what you believe is true after diligently seeking it, don’t stop there; Share it. Sharing your knowledge is spreading power and awareness. Our society, more than ever before, makes it extremely difficult for us to share our beliefs without being scolded and attacked. While we need to have mutual respect for those with different views, don’t be intimidated and don’t stay passive for the sake of avoiding being called terms like “bigot”. We are called to stand for justice and truth not political correctness. Use social media and the places where you have authority, whether it’s work, home, or church to share what you know.
“All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.” -Edmund Burke
Don’t stop with knowing and sharing; We have the privilege to vote. Vote for local and national leaders that you believe uphold the truth and fight against injustice.
I will write soon on my view on refugees and what our response should be.
What other ways do you think we can help when we are faced with attacks?
– Johnny Youssef