If you don’t recognize this symbol by now, you should. You also need to understand it, and not just because it is all over social media.
It is the Arabic letter “N”. It is the mark ISIS is leaving on Christian homes in northern Iraq, showing they can choose to:
- Pay a tax (which has been repeatedly reported they kill the people afterwards anyway),
- Convert to their radical form of Islam (again, then get killed anyway), or
- Die a horrific, violent death.
What can we do to help these people who have been forced to flee from their homes? First, lets understand who they are.
It has been estimated tens of thousands of Kazidi people have run for their lives. 40,000 0f them were trapped on desolate Mount Sinjar where temperatures reach up to 120 degrees. They are Christian families who have lived in Iraq for thousands of years. On the mountain they were and are dying of hunger and thirst. If they come off the mountain on their own, they are seized by ISIS and hung, raped, or beheaded. Aid and rescue have gotten half of them off the mountain, but many are still there left to battle the elements.
You also need to understand it is not just Christians being persecuted. ISIS is also punishing other forms of Islam for not being “Muslim” enough. ISIS are Islamic militants, not to be confused with all Muslims. There are many muslims who are against ISIS. Believe it or not, Al Qaeda has even said they are to extreme. They will go into towns and rape, hang, behead anyone who will not join them. They have crucified Christians and bragged about it in photos and videos on social media.
It is easy to feel small, inconsequential, and helpless. This seems a world away, but it is not.
YOU are not.
And you serve the God of the Universe, who is a God of love, miracles, and provision. Here are ways you can get involved.
Ask God to protect and provide for these people. That could be through humanitarian aid, or even rain on a dry mountain. Pray for stamina. Pray they won’t lose hope, and that they will have peace amidst the chaos and evil surrounding them. Pray they will feel God suffering with them, because He is there, among them.
Start realizing what you have that they don’t, and pray about those things. Every time you eat, lay in your bed, when you feel safe at home with your family. This will help you pray for them ALL DAY LONG.
Galatians 6:2-3 says, “Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. If anyone thinks they are something when they are not, they deceive themselves.” As Christians, we must carry each other’s burdens. Christ carried our burdens to the cross. If we are to be Christ-like, our faith should cost us something, too.
I always tell my teenagers, your life is not about you. It is about Christ IN you, using and working through you for His purpose.
THIS IS A BURDEN.
We must help carry it.
It is only by the grace of God you aren’t on top that mountain. You didn’t control where you were born. God did.
Please don’t ignore what is going on, or think you can’t handle the thought of it. You can, and you must. If Christians lose our compassion, we lose our view of the world through Jesus’ eyes. We can’t let that happen.
There is an International Mission Board through the Southern Baptist Convention that has formed a relief fund for northern Iraq. If you text imbrelief to 80888, you can donate ten dollars to that fund. ($10 will be added to your mobile phone bill or deducted from your account if you load your phone monthly).
Challenge your friends to do this as well as yourself, and see how many you can get to donate to this cause. Put it on facebook, instagram, twitter – get it out there.
Carry this burden through prayer, through your thoughts, through your social media, and through your pocketbook. We must have a global outlook. Help and encourage others in a time of need. Jesus said the greatest commandment is loving God and loving others.
Here’s our chance to love others, Christian people. Don’t let it pass you by.