Mar 22, 2016 by Josh de Keijzer

Terror in Brussels: "Let Us Respond The Way Christ Would"

Two suicide bomb attacks haven taken place at different locations in Brussels. One was at Zaventem airport near the American Airlines check-in counter and the second at a Brussels subway between stations Kust-West en Maalbeek. At least 34 people have been reported dead and there are at least 230 wounded, according to VRT, the Flemish Radio and Television Company. According to news agency Belga, shots were fired before the explosions and someone shouted something in Arabic. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks.

About 50 minutes after the first explosion HelloChristian spoke with Jan Wisse, field leader for missions organization OM Belgium. He lives just a few minutes away from the airport and the office of his organization is also just a few blocks away. “On my way to the office, I drove by the airport. Everything was blocked,” he says. The airport is just about around the corner from the OM office.

“Apparently people heard two explosions. It looks like these are similar attacks to the ones in Paris. If true, that makes me sad. People who kill other people in the name of God; I don’t quite know what to do with it. I cannot understand why people would do this. It is also completely incompatible with what I believe myself. God is a God of love. But this is something completely different. How could God give anyone the commission for such an act? God, in fact, asks us to forgive and to respond in love to people who hurt us and oppose us.

"I cannot understand why people would do this. it's also completely incompatible with what I believe myself. god is a god of love."

“It is a strange situation,” says Jan. “My first thoughts are not for those who committed the murders, but for those affected by the attacks. It is a very sad thing when people die because of religion.”

Many people, including Wisse, will follow the news closely today and tomorrow. The fall-out from the attacks will become visible in the next days and weeks. Will people be afraid to get out of their houses? What security measures will be taken? It remains to be seen whether these attacks will lead to polarization and to increased suspicion toward Muslims. How should Christians respond? Says Wisse: “We have to do what Christ has taught us. We have to love our neighbor en bless those who persecute us. We have to pray for the terrorists.”

At the same time, Wisse acknowledges that it is difficult to pray after such an attack: “I don’t really know what we should pray. What do we pray for in a tragedy like this? I think it is meaningful to stand still at a moment like this and listen to God. Even when you don’t know what to pray for.”

After pausing for a while, Jan Wisse tells us what he wants to pray: “I pray that the lies that incite people to do these things will be exposed. I also pray that as a society we won’t organize a witch hunt or get stranded in anti-Islamism. And I pray that our answer to these attacks will be love and forgiveness.”

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