On Christmas day, while many tripped out on tryptophan and some were comatose on cake, others were dying from a senseless, heinous and criminal act of terrorism in Nigeria, carried out by a group that represents a growing terrorist threat globally. You see, Islamic Nigeria's answer to Al Qaeda and the Taliban is a group known as Boko Haram.
The term "Boko Haram" comes from the Hausa word boko meaning "Animist, western or otherwise non-Islamic education" and the Arabic word haram figuratively meaning "sin" (literally, "forbidden")
Boko Haram claimed responsibility for planning and carrying out a series of coordinated attacks targeting churches in Nigeria on Christmas Day, in which an estimated 40 people lost their lives. The most serious blast took place on the outskirts of the capital Abuja claiming at least 30 lives.
Observers say the group, which has carried out dozens of violent attacks since its formation, is increasingly expanding the scope and sophistication of its operations. Why are they doing it you may ask?
While the answer is a lot more complicated than I care to write about here, in simple terms they'd like to see Western influence and education completely eradicated from Northern Nigeria and Sharia law implemented as the penal system.
For those who may not be aware, Nigeria represents the largest population of black people on earth with over one hundred and sixty million people living in a land area about two and a half times the size of Texas. There are over 350 ethnic groups and 250 languages.
With roughly 50% of the population professing Christianity, 47% professing Islam, and 3% animist, it's a cauldron of potent and toxic emotions waiting to explode at every turn. Sadly, we accomplish nothing other than hurting ourselves as we kill each other simply because we view the world from different perspectives.
Today, following the senseless attacks, all that's changed in Nigeria is that a few more families carry the scars and bitterness of having needlessly lost loved ones who are merely collateral damage in an un-winnable war against ourselves.
So, what's the answer? Well, the Scriptures do call Jesus the Prince of Peace and declare that God is Love. They also testify that Love covers a multitude of sins. This means that the only way to win this war is to fight the battle where it needs to be fought and with weapons that enable you win the war.
"We are not fighting against flesh and blood but against spiritual enemies in the heavenly places," declares the book of Ephesians. 1 Corinthians adds, "The weapons of our warfare are not physical but spiritual weapons that attack demonic strongholds...." Love is the only guaranteed weapon with which to win this war!
This music video is a brilliant reminder by a Nigerian artiste that "Alafia" (peace) is the way to resolve these incendiary issues that seemingly have no beginning and no end. Enjoy! And please remember to say a prayer for the families of the victims of the Boko Haram bombings.