This morning, my wife received a call from a family member who said “did you hear about the medical workers who were killed in Afghanistan?”  We had not, so I got on my computer to look up the news.

Sure enough breaking news:

Kabul, Afghanistan (CNN)Gunmen in the remote northeastern region of Afghanistan shot and killed 10 members of a medical team, police said Saturday.

The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack that occurred Thursday.

Among the dead were six Americans, two Afghans, a Briton, and a German, said Dirk Frans, director of International Assistance Mission. He said two other Afghans on the team are alive.

The gunmen stopped the victims on a road, took their belongings and shot them one by one, said Aqa Nwor Kentoz, police chief of northern Badakhshan province.


This story hits close to home; that could have been us.   Last summer my wife and I joined about a dozen other American medical workers to provide medical care to those in need in Afghanistan.  It was an amazing time, and we can’t wait for an opportunity to go back.

I’m sure everyone’s initial reaction is to pray for the family of the victims.  They should be honored as heroes, killed while serving others in the name of Jesus.  But where do we go from there?   I think there are 3 reactions that we can have to this story, 2 unbiblical and 1 biblical, let’s look at each and see which is which.

First: Retaliation

We could call on our government to strike back, hunt down those responsible and kill them.  We could justify it in many ways: They need to be brought to justice; we need to show them that they can’t do that to Americans, we must prevent them from doing it again.  All often used, understandable, yet unbiblical justifications for an unbiblical response to evil.

Second: Fear and Avoidance.

The family member who called us and told us this news reacted exactly how most of us would react, “I hope you know that this means you will never go there again”.  This reaction is completely understandable, and I don’t fault this person for their reaction at all, but it is no less unbiblical than the first reaction.

Remember shortly after 9/11 we heard many people advocating different things saying, “If we do or don’t (fill in the blank), then the terrorists will have won.”  Well if this event, this act of evil, deters good people from doing good things in a region that obviously needs it, then those who have committed this evil act get what they want.

Third: Love your enemies.

Clearly this is the biblical response:

But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. Luke 6:27-28

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. Romans 12:14

When we are cursed, we bless; when we are persecuted, we endure it. 1 Corinthians 4:12

Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:17-21

One of my favorite authors, Carl Medearis wrote a book called Tea with Hezbollah.   In it is the story of the trip he and Ted Dekker made all around the Middle East meeting with all our “enemies” such as Hezzbollah, Hamas and the Bin Laudin brothers.  He asked each leader “What is the most famous teaching of Jesus?”  The usual response: “To love your enemies”.  He would then ask, “How is that going for you?”  They thought it was a good teaching (as Muslims who believe Jesus was a prophet they can’t really disagree with Jesus), but that it was very impractical in todays world.  Sound familiar?  That is exactly what most Americans think: yes, Jesus’ teaching to love your enemies is probably a great teaching, but it is not very practical today.

Can you imagine a world, where all those who profess to follow the teachings of Jesus, both Christian and Muslim actually followed this teaching?  What a world changing act that would be!  We can’t fall into the trap by using the excuse “Well the other guy isn’t doing the right thing, so I don’t have to”.  That argument doesn’t work against my mom, why think it will work against God?  We must stand up and do the right thing, regardless of what others are doing.

How do we do that?  The bible is clear:

Pray: Pray for those who mistreat you. Luke 6: 28

This doesn’t just go for terrorists half way across the world; it goes for the guy who cuts you off, or the person who is mean to you at work.  It is difficult to pray for someone you hate, but once you get into the habit, it becomes hard to hate the people you are praying for.

Do good“If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:20-21

What should our response be to the murders in Afghanistan?  I think it should be an overwhelming movement of followers of Jesus into the region serving in His name.  Feeding those who are hungry, giving water to those who are thirsty, and serving those who are in need. I’m still looking forward to an opportunity to return to Afghanistan, to show others the love of Jesus through service.

Can’t go?  Take the opportunity to support those who are working in the region.

Highlighted From Comment Section:

Many good comments below, but I must highlight this especially insightful comment (from my mother).

“The precious people who were gunned down in cold blood should remind us of the huge need to spread Christ’s message of grace and mercy. I’m pretty sure God didn’t slap His forehead and say, “Man, I wish I hadn’t sent My kids into harm’s way”. No, I’m very sure He was with them each step of the way, proud of them for obeying His command to share His Word and His love serving those in need.” –Anita Gibson

21 comments
  1. Hi Dustin

    You are right in what you say but you have forgotten a couple of things.

    If protecting ones self or others in your family is wrong why did the apostles carry a sword (the concealed weapon of the times).

    Also in Ps. 149 it said what we should do with evil.

    Dead men can not feed the hungry nor heal the sick nor have I heard of them telling anyone about Jesus Christ!

    I am not saying we should not help the people; but we need to understand is they have a god of death, one that calls for them to die for him while ours is a God who died for us. This causes a total difference in world views. If all we did was to sit back and “love” when our nation is attacked then their job of killing all infidels would be quite easy don’t you think? That is the foundation of their faith. We seem to want to overlook the fact that they are out to destroy all who will not succumb to them and their god. There is a definite difference in an enemy of war and an everyday run of the mill enemy. War is not nice, wonderful or any adjective that we would conjure up…but, one must protect at the same time from the evil. This is why you can not just say you love and do nothing.

    Americans need to understand that the Muslim view is totally different than ours in everything.

    Example: Islam teaches that they are not to make friends with Christians or Jews (Koran 5:51)

    They are to kill us (Koran 4:5)

    Kill us where ever they can find us (Koran 2:191

    Fight and slay the pagans (us) (Koran 9:5)

    Murder them & treat them harshly (Koran 9:123)

    Strike off the heads of the non-believers (Koran 47:4)

    Smite above there necks & smite off there finger tips. (Koran 8:12 )

    Slay or crucify or cut off the hands & the feet of the unbelievers (Koran 5:34)

    They are justified by (Koran 9:14) Allah will punish them (us) by our hands”

    Unless we (Muslims) go forth (for Jihad) he will punish us & replace us with others. (Koran 9:38 – 39)

    But in their defense I must say they would make excellent US politicians.
    As (Koran 9:3 ) says “It is acceptable to break treaties & obligations with pagans & make war on them whenever strong enough to do so.

    This is just a very small taste of what the Muslims believe.

    I know that many will say not all Christians believe all the Bible, but I would ask,
    Why would you have faith in one that has lied to you?
    Why would you support an organization (church) that teaches lies?

    So with this in mind maybe our modern day apostles should be as prepared as Christ’s apostles were and the state of Israel is today. The apostles were subject to the government and they killed them…they could not fight back…hopefully we never have that type of government…but, I suspect we will in the end.

    1. Brother Mark —
      There are many things I would like to say in response to your comments here. But for now, I will limit my points to three.
      First, about the sword thing. There are basically two apostles-with-swords stories in the gospels. Peter hacks off the ear of the high priest’s servant and is rebuked by the Lord for doing so–not much of a proof text for legitimizing Christian violence. And then, in Luke 22, the Lord actually tells His men to bring along a sword. When they present a couple of swords, He says, ‘that’ll do.’ But Luke, the author, tells us why this strange thing happens: it is to fulfill the Scripture that said the Messiah would be “numbered among the transgressors.” Again, no justification here for the Lord’s followers to take up arms in His or any other name.
      Second, though I don’t claim to be a scholar on the Qur’an, I have read quite a bit of it–enough to know that most of passages you cited are slightly decontextualized. Everywhere in the Qur’an that I have seen such messages, there is always an expectation that Muslims first try to be at peace with people and only resort to violence, if peace doesn’t work. Then, of course, they are to push back HARD… This leads to my third point…
      Third, the reasoning that so many of my brothers and sisters in Christ use to justify war and violence is not to be found in the Bible, but it IS in the Qur’an. Look again at your paragraph above that begins with the words “I am not saying we should not help the people…” Notice that your arguments are based on ordinary human reason, the sort that is available and makes “sense” to people in the world. Truly biblical reasoning defies the thought processes of this world. In this world, it is absurd to love your enemies and to bare your neck before their swinging machetes. But the way of Christ is foolishness to those who do not have the mind of Christ. Do we not follow a Lord who teaches us to, like Him, lay down our lives? If the Lord stood up to injustice the way you and so many of our brothers say we should do, there would have been no cross, and we would be lost.
      Well, those are my three thoughts…
      Grace and peace to you!

      1. Dear KC

        On your first point about the ear. The reason the Lord told him to put away the sword was two fold.

        1. Christ was to die for our sins; this was the only way for complete forgiveness for us. He laid down His life, no one took it from Him.

        2. It would represent rebellion against the government since they were not being attacked. Jesus was being arrested for questioning and possible trial.

        Malchus was a servant of the high priest. The man was “likely foremost of those who advanced to seize Jesus, and presented himself in the attitude of a combatant; hence his right side would be exposed to attack. The blow of Peter was evidently aimed vertically at his head”

        3. I am bewildered as to your comment of the Luke 22 passage. In verse 36 Jesus Christ said “and he that hath no sword let him sell his garment and buy one. These were not the big knights of the round table type; but a small short sword which would go unnoticed under the coats of men and were common in the Roman Empire.

        I am sure that you have a reason for calling protecting ones life as violence; but I don’t see the comparison. Self defense is not violence, violence is a criminal action.

        If you believe Jesus is the Son of God and He had all knowledge and wisdom and nothing could be hidden from Him; He had to be making a point at this time in Luke 22:37 & 38.

        I would have to believe the swords the two apostles had, prove two things.
        1. We are to protect ourselves; as well as those under our direction and protection (wife & family).

        2. God designed men to be protectors and their is a place and time to do that.

        I think you may need to reread the part about Jesus being numbered among the Transgressors. It is not talking about the apostles. I made no statement about taking up arms in the name of the Lord.

        As to your point about the Muslim peace; it is very misleading and deceptive.
        Their history should enlighten you as to the motives and actions of this religion. To be at peace with a Muslim you must convert or pay tribute, but if that person is a Christian or a Jew they are to make war on them. Koran 5:51.

        You do not understand what I am saying when I said we should not stop helping these people. The human attitude you accuse me of would have said “not” to help; but to eliminate them as soon as possible.

        You have made a great assumption in thinking I said we should kill them all in war or that I said we should fight against our government. That is not what was said.

        The reason we have religious freedom in America today is due to Christians who fought and died for that freedom through out our history.

        Take time to research the history of the Muslim nations and the atrocities they committed against their neighbors and each other to this very day.

        May you continue in the safety and peace that God has given each of us in the land.

        Mark

    2. Thanks for the comment Mark.

      A few responses to your points:

      The Quran: mixed bag, I could point to the 89 references to Jesus (all positive), but it doesn’t matter. Even if everything in the Quran is vile evil stuff that every Muslim took literally and led to despicable evil acts, doesn’t matter… what does Jesus say about even the worst enemy: Love them.

      Your arguments are a great defense for self preservation, but I don’t find that in the bible. When Jesus tells us to “take up your cross and follow me”, where do you think we were heading?

      Since the dawn of time, we have been trying to use bruit force and human ingenuity to combat evil. Whether you look at ancient Israel or modern America, it seems to fall far short of eradicating evil. Maybe we should start doing things the way Jesus recommends, something tells me he was right. Imagine a world that takes Jesus’s teaching of loving our enemies seriously, I bet that would work.

      Mark great conversation, I really enjoy discussing this kind of stuff. Hopefully I can be down during family camp and we can talk some more. God bless!

  2. These dear people are Martyrs. Died in the service of God, serving Jesus Christ. Helping with medical assistance to people who have next to nothing, and maybe bringing them a word of hope in the name of Jesus.
    But, with Mark I must also agree. These extremists have a mindset that most normal/average Americans do not understand.
    Let’s just pray for these Martyrs’ families and pray God’s Holy Spirit and guidance will return to this Nation.

  3. Hey bro, great article. I do work in Afghanistan too. Please take my advice here very, very seriously.

    Take off the links or any specific mentioning on which organizations you are associated with ASAP. You are putting both these organizations and people in them at serious risk.

    Be really careful right now as these times are difficult – the gov’t is investigating all the ngo’s in the country, and i found this blog as one of the first on Google news.

    Be blessed man.

  4. Well, as Dustin’s mom, I agree that as a mom, I would beg him not to serve somewhere that he knows is in harm’s way. And when I saw this article yesterday, my very first thought was of Dustin and Derricca and the dangers they face in Afghanistan. Then I remembered should they go over there and give their lives in Jesus’ name, they’ve put alot of thought into making sure their kids will be well taken care of should the need arise. And I know their love for the Afghan people, who live in a constant state of fear for their very lives, and who have absolutely no access to the very basics of healthcare that we all take for granted. Dustin, as your mom, I would like to lock you in a box and not let any harm come near you…yet I know your dedication and passion to help those in need, because the seed was planted in all our family by my own mom who traveled overseas many times to serve the Lord in places where human beings don’t even realize we have a Savior who loves them and wants the best for them. In conclusion, I’m very proud of D&D and their commitment to working hard and using their lives to serve our God, both here and overseas. If Christians don’t go, how will the lost hear??? How will they come to understand the true love we sometimes take for granted? I am so blessed to have kids who all know Christ as their personal Savior. If their sacrifice of time and safety allow others to see the love of Christ, then who am I to stand in their way!! Go forth and serve to ALL the corners of the earth…in the light and in the darkness. The bible says that God will use everything for His good…for His glory. The precious people who were gunned down in cold blood should remind us of the huge need to spread Christ’s message of grace and mercy. I’m pretty sure God didn’t slap His forehead and say, “Man, I wish I hadn’t sent My kids into harm’s way”. No, I’m very sure He was with them each step of the way, proud of them for obeying His command to share His Word and His love serving those in need. I’m really glad someone once told me how to become a child of The Living God!!

  5. I live in Turkey and my family just spent 5 hours eating and playing games with a friend’s family and his extended family of brothers. It was a wonderful time. These people are conservative Muslims. They are peaceful and hardworking people. Remember, the Koran has a lot of stuff in it that even the Muslim will tell you he doesn’t understand. They work hard so to speak to distance themselves from the passages mentioned above. If you read the Koran with an evenhanded appraoch you will see many passages that talk about God’s mercy and love.

    We need to cut them a break and not pick out the passages in the book that paint the picture we want. Just like there are passages in the Bible that — taken at face value without lenghty explantion —make God look like a vengeful child killing monster (Old Testament) .

    Of course God isn’t like that and his sending of Jesus Christ to die for our sins is proof.

    When an American goes into a store and kills 10 of his own people we don’t tar ourselves and say “surely all of us are wacko killers” because of the actions of 1 man, right?

    Would we like the world to call us ALL racists and people of hate because of the work of the KKK?

    Actually I think the hardest worldview for American Christians to understand is the worldview of the kingdom of God. (I’m working on it)

    1. Well said Rich, thanks for the comments. I agree that the American church has really drifted from understanding the Kingdom of God, I think we are missing alot of the big picture. I too am working on it.

    2. “Of course God isn’t like that ”

      What do you mean? He isn’t like what? Vengeful?

      I am not sure how far Dustin, you are talking this no retaliatin thing. Are you suggesting that our culture would be better off not punishing criminals? That self-defense or national defense is UnChristian? Romans teaches that the government bears the sword. That is God’s vengeance (one of God’s means for vengeance).

      1. “I am not sure how far Dustin, you are talking this no retaliatin thing.”

        Not sure the proper question is how far I would take it, I would ask how far Jesus takes it…Look to Him and His words, not mine.

      2. Dustin, after the quibble over my words, the questions remain.

        I can read the Bible. The Bible teaches the government bears the sword of vengeance. We do not wield that personally. I agree that we should personally show love to our enemies. To go to Afghanistan and help the poor and sick is noble and right.

        But you should not leave the impression that you are a pacifist, if you are not.

        Do you believe Jesus teaches cultural pacifism? ‘

        You are running for the state house. Should national guard troops be trained in the use of weapons? Is the death penalty appropriate? How does sending murderers or rapists to prison square with the idea of turning the other cheek, in your opinion?

      3. I would say I’m very close to being a pacifist.

        As far as the state house questions:

        1) National Guard: should come home. They can train with weapons to defend the land against foreign invasion as was their intension, not to be used as they are now, being deployed all around the world to fight these wars.

        2) I’m against the death penalty.

  6. I agree with everything you said. I won’t go into any of the religious stuff, buy I do agree that those 10 individuals, American or not, are true hero’s in a world so full of evil. Good stuff Dustin.

  7. Life is so good! And there truly is no tragedy in death; God, Allah IS love. In any circumstances where we attempt another “solution” in resolving our relationships we invite personal and social pain.

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