God Cares About Terrorists

September 24, 2001
by Valerie Dunn

Acts 8:3 – But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison. (NIV)

Acts 9:3-5 – As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?" "Who are you, Lord?" Saul asked. "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting," he replied. "Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do." (NIV)

The Reverend Mr. John McGregor, a former member of the Billy Graham team, describes himself as a former Irish terrorist. He told his story recently to those attending a 50-plus weekend at Wesley Acres Retreat Centre, south of Belleville, Ontario.

"I lived in Northern Ireland, and as a young man I joined the terrorist organization because I knew they would give me a gun. I slept with that gun under my pillow every night," he said. He told us how he and other members of the organization dragged defenceless Roman Catholic families out of their homes in the middle of the night, placed bombs, and committed other terrorist acts. "I was angry and all I wanted to do was hurt people," he said.

John worked for a printing company, where one of his co-workers talked to him every day for a period of two years about Christianity. John would get angry and tell the person to stop. But his co-worker replied, "John, you need Jesus; I cannot stop." One day John decided he was so tired of all this that he would read the Bible, so he could argue with the other man. He started reading from Genesis on, and then somehow realized he should look at the Gospels. And … you guessed it! God spoke to John's heart.

His mother came to visit John the next day, and John said to her, "Guess what I have done!" She was terrified. Had he killed someone? Heartsick, the mother could hardly believe the words she heard next. "Mother, I just got saved. I'm a Christian!"

John then pointed out something that most of us had never considered. St. Paul, the Saul of today's scripture verses, was indeed a terrorist. God took the drastic method of striking him down and making him blind on the road to Damascus because He wanted him for Christ, and that was the only way He could get through to him!

John McGregor used his story and Paul's to encourage us never to give up praying for others who need Christ, including loved ones who seem far away from Him.

The weekend ended on Sunday, September 9th. Little did we know what tragic events would take place on the following Tuesday. I believe God used former terrorist John McGregor to send us a message we would each remember as we move through the events of September 11th and the days of sorrow that follow. That is why I am passing John's story on to you.

Prayer: Lord God, we lift up to you those who do not know you, those who need Jesus to take over their hearts and lives. As we do so, renew your faith within each of us; help us through Your grace to pray for the evildoers of the world, to forgive them and never to give up hope that Your love can reach out and touch the darkest heart. Amen.

About the author:

Valerie Dunn <valerie.dunn@bell.net>
Toronto, Ontario, Canada

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