Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who belongs to the truth listens to my voice.” John 18:33-37
People around the world have been shocked by the news and images of the terrorist attacks in Paris and Beirut. People and families of the victims are grieving the loss of family members and friends in France and Lebanon and as a community of faith we should keep these nations in our prayers.
When we think about the meaning of the kingdom of God and the presence of the kingdom of violence, we can see that the kingdom of terror that criminal organizations like ISIS or others alike are trying to establish, are not isolated cases in human history.
The fight against the kingdom of this world is an old fight, and the radical moment of this fight was the confrontation between Pilate and Jesus.
Jesus´ dead on the cross was a demonstration of an act of extreme cruelty and abuse of power executed by the kingdom of this world visible on those days under the form of the Roman Empire.
The fact that an innocent man was executed with cruelty to create fear and to silence the voice of God, was the intent of the kingdom of fear to silence the call of God to everybody everywhere to repent and convert.
I remember my own experience suffering the oppression of the kingdom of terror during my years in High school, College and professional life. Car bombs exploiting in front of restaurants, banks, public and private offices and malls. Police officers and military personal kidnapped and executed with cruelty, shootings on the street, blackouts after terrorist attacks that destroyed the power lines. A complete set of actions with only one goal: to keep you under fear to control you physically and spiritually.
One night many years ago, during the years of the war against the Shining Path terrorist group in Peru, I went to pick up Lucy after she finished her day of work teaching at a Language Center near downtown in Lima. We use to take a bus at the bus stop across from a Government building, this was located two blocks from her working place. But, that night, we decided that the night was beautiful and we wanted to walk a little more and go home taking another direction.
After we walked four or five blocks, we listened and felt the blast of the explosion of a car bomb at the bus stop where we normally waited for our bus. The terrorists targeted the Government office front killing all the people waiting at the bus stop and destroying the whole front of the Government building.
That night, if we had just followed our normal routine, we would have been killed.
But we made a decision, the unexpected decision to have a walk going to the opposite direction, and we survived that night.
After an act of complete terror and cruelty like the one that happened that night in 1992, you are never the same.
The goal of the kingdom of terror is to create fear and change our hearts to control us through fear and hate. That is why the kingdom of terror tries to kill the good inside us, destroying our faith in love, forgiveness and peace, and moving us to be afraid and to hate like the terrorists hate us.
But we were not created to live under the control of the kingdom of terror, we are children of God and we were called to be citizens of the Kingdom of God.
The kingdom of terror wants to steal your joy, but the Kingdom of God is always reminding us that Jesus is our joy.
Now that we see that the kingdom of this world or the kingdom of terror are here to steal what God has given us as a gift, we can resist the violence and hate with the power of our faith in the resurrected Christ.
The Kingdom of God invites us to share our life and our possessions with generosity. It is not like the kingdom of terror that wants to destroy or steal our life and possessions. Both kingdoms are fighting to control our life. This is a fight that fundamentally takes place in our soul.
Jesus’ invitation guides us to a complete change of direction, to a complete new way of thinking. This is the meaning of the Kingdom of God. A new direction, a new way of thinking, a new form to live and to relate with others. A kingdom of love. This kingdom is always under the attack of the kingdom of terror. But we know that the final victory is the victory of the Kingdom of God.
We need a God´s Kingdom thinking for that reason. We need to practice the values of the kingdom every day.
There are many challenges, there are many attacks to our faith, there is pain and there is terror in the world, but the victory of the Kingdom of God is firm because our King has raised from the dead and has won everlasting life that wants to share with all his disciples.
Do not be afraid and trust in the power of our King and his Kingdom.