Does God love Jihadis? This is a theological or even theoretical question but it also has vitally important missiological consequences.
This is the problem, if God loves a person, and we love God, does this mean that we must love that person? Well, I am so sorry to say, yes. Evil people, people who consider themselves your enemy, should be the object of your love. This, of course, does not mean that we do not oppose evil but we are not permit to hate.
“Love your enemy and pray for those who persecute you. that you may be children of your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:44-45). To be a child of our Father in heaven we must love and pray for enemies and persecutors. But there is worse to come. The most important moment in history, God’s intervention in history, Jesus tells us the most awful thing. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).
Who are the “they”? The soldiers who did the crucifixion? These were some of the most hardened and cruel soldiers in the Roman army. But Jesus forgives them. Or is it all those involved in Jesus’ death? Soldiers, Sanhedrin, Judas? Whatever, Jesus does not hold them to account. But isn’t this the missiological point. This is forgiveness of the most evil.
Don’t you think that God’s demands are just a bit too much? Isn’t ISIS beyond God’s love? Can’t we just hate them? Unfortunately, no. Darn!