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Defeating hatred

8 February 2021

On the 27th of Jan 2021, we received the disturbing news of the arrest of a 16-year-old Singaporean Christian teenager who planned terrorist acts on Muslims at two mosques.

He was self-radicalised, motivated by a strong antipathy towards Islam via online influence and believed that his planned acts of extremism would be justified.

Such ideology does not come from the Scriptures, the teachings of our LORD Jesus Christ. Before Jesus died on the cross, His words, as the second greatest commandment to His disciples, was to “Love your neighbour as yourself.”

Christ exemplifies this love when He prayed for His enemies as they nailed Him to the cross, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” (Luke 23:34).

He exemplifies this love when He gave His life on the cross, as a ransom for you and me (Matt 20:28), so that when we believe, we will not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).

The early church grew tremendously despite severe persecution because of prayer and the preaching of Christ crucified (Acts 4:29) and not through violence.

If we should desire to win the world, then the only way is to preach Christ crucified, the weakness and the foolishness of God, not the power of violence nor the wisdom of right-wing terrorism (1 Cor 1:25).

We call upon everyone in Moriah to build spiritual and emotional formation in their families. Children must be able to question and ask difficult questions about their faith in an environment they feel safe in; and where their faith can grow even as family relationships grow. We pray that the church can come alongside in this journey, even as we educate and disciple them; inoculating them against radicalisation or ideology that promotes violence.

Let us also pray for the teenager who had been led astray. May God change his thoughts away from violence and hatred, and instead towards forgiveness, love, joy and peace. Let us also remember his family, friends and church community even as they go through this season of testing.

Assistant Pastor Daniel Gan

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