RCA general secretary Tom De Vries gives a statement on the recent killings of Egyptian Christians by criminals connected to ISIS/ISIL in Libya.

On Sunday, February 15, twenty-one young Egyptian Christians were martyred at the hands of criminals connected to ISIS/ISIL in Libya. Many of them were videoed praying as they were killed.

As brothers and sisters in sorrow with Christians in Egypt and around the world, and as we begin our annual observance of Lent, we remember that Jesus taught us to pray in every circumstance.

Let’s pray for the families of these young men, who left wives and children and aging parents back home in Egypt to find work in Libya to earn the money their families needed in order to eat.

Let’s also pray for the Coptic Orthodox Church from which these young men came and for their communities.

Jesus taught us to pray for those who hurt us. So, as his followers, we pray that those who carried out these murders will realize the horror of what they have done and turn away from evil.

Let’s pray also for ourselves, that we do not give into hate or sweeping judgments about all adherents of Islam.

Most of all, let’s pray that, like the Coptic martyrs in Libya and many other martyrs in that part of the world, we will always be ready to make our defense to anyone who demands from us an accounting for the hope that is in us (1 Peter 3:15).

Tom De Vries