Many people believe that all terrorists should be killed. A majority of those also believe one or a combo of these two main thoughts: First, their crimes deserve death. Second, they are beyond help.
As humans we like to simplify things as much as we like to overcomplicate them. While I can understand where those who think this way are coming from, I believe that this is an easier “knee-jerk” thought process from a distance. To talk to terrorist or read the conversations of others who have to discover the reasons on how they became involved, is to get to a level of understanding that few people desire or will take the time and effort to discover.
The pictures of Imad took me back to the amount of time I got to spend with him and his uncle, a young man in his late 20’s who accompanied us when we transported him from Mosul to Erbil for medical care. He stayed with his nephew the whole time and then accompanied us when we returned Imad home several days later. To see the reunion with his extended family and hear their stories of lost hope and now jubilation was beyond amazing. They told me that his mother and some of his siblings were able to get out of country, relatively sure that Imad and his brothers and dad who were captured by ISIS were all dead after 3 years. What a blessed surprise they got when he was finally able to be reunited with them in their new country a few months later.
The point here is that our media fails to explain the number of “terrorists” who are doing what they do to stay alive and the number of boys that are put into that type of situation through capture is extremely high. While some will completely give in to the culture of death, others will do what they need to survive. How would we handle being put into that situation? While people have breath, there is always hope for someone to have a change of heart and mind. May we never forget this as followers of Jesus, for the apostle Paul, the one whose writings under the unction of the Holy Spirit fill the New Testament, was once a misguided killer of Christians:
“‘I went after anyone connected with this ‘Way,’ went at them hammer and tongs, ready to kill for God. I rounded up men and women right and left and had them thrown in prison. You can ask the Chief Priest or anyone in the High Council to verify this; they all knew me well. Then I went off to our brothers in Damascus, armed with official documents authorizing me to hunt down the followers of Jesus there, arrest them, and bring them back to Jerusalem for sentencing.'” Acts 22:4-5 (MSG)