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Recently, I received this question from a friend and will endeavour to provide an answer. This was brought about by a rough time that person was having because they were doing the Lord's work.

I don't understand how a true committed Christian person can act that way towards their fellow Christians by killing them for no reason. Jesus changes our heart when we surrender to him. This is a spiritual occurrence that takes place in our hearts. Love replaces hate, bitterness and violence. How can people say they worship and love God and do these horrific acts?  In the so called Christian churches there are many people who have hearts of steel and yet they have said the sinners prayer  and asked for forgiveness,  yet they act like vigilantes.

I will start with why do so called Christians do these things. I believe there are two good ways to answer that question and then I will add a comment.

Firstly, we can ask why Judas Iscariot was happy to betray Jesus. Here was a man who basically had the world at his feet; one of the inner core of the followers and yet he turned and betrayed Jesus.

Secondly, we must take the warning that Jesus, himself, gave to His disciples when He told them that in the future days when the devil came, the devil would would deceive even the chosen ones.

Let's face it, the devil was prepared to try and deceive Jesus so we cannot expect to be immune from the attack. The difference was that Jesus is perfect and was able to resist. If you like, He was a further step up the ladder and could come down on the devil from a higher position. While we can call on the Holy Spirit to help us in the fight, the devil often deceives us and we don't do that. Just look back on the horrendous battles (for those who know of these) I have been through over the last 18 months and how harsh they were. How often, but for you wonderful people who would not let go of me, was I close to yielding to the devil and going the wrong way? I have certainly lost count.

Now, we are people very conscious of the fight we have and are on the alert. If we can fail, then so much more is it likely that those who are only part hearted in their belief are going to fail.

You mention that these people have all said the sinners' prayer. But was it lip service or heart service? Only God knows the truth to that answer. What I am saying is that people are often caught up in the euphoria of an occasion (and sadly that spirit is often found mingling in true Christian rallies as the devil tries to snatch people away before they are truly saved -  like the parable of the sower) and, under those conditions, words are very easy to say so as to "impress" those around and seem to do what is the right thing. It must truly grieve God when that happens but He gives us free will and so it is the choice of the individual.

Like the parable of the sheep and the goats or the parable of the wheat and the tares, true believers and pretend ones inhabit the system side by side. In some occasions the good are dominant and then Jesus truly reigns. At other times, sadly, the bad ones gain the upper hand and then evil rules the system. Once either take full control, the other has very little chance of overcoming (though it is certainly not impossible, because nothing is impossible for God).

Hopefully, that gives you an explanation of why this happens in our imperfect world.

You have certainly been through a rough time these last couple of weeks over the plans you and others are making for your future. Let me say this: the devil does not want this to happen because, as you are aware, each time a larger part of God's plan for the end times takes place, the devil is made to realise how little time he has left. You (as with others) are a big part in the next stage of the end, so the devil will be digging deep to upset this plan. As a result, he uses those who are close to you to attack you. People laugh at me when I say that probably only 5-10% of those who go to church are true Christians, but as time goes by, you find people reveal their true colours. Now some of these are not intentionally offside with God and become horrified when they realise what they have done, they repent and are brought back to a new relationship with God. But, by then, some damage may have been done and there is a temporary victory for the devil. He cannot hope to win, but that does not stop him from continuing to try and to see how many he can drag down with him. The latter is his biggest intention, I believe.

In conclusion to all of that, what I am saying is that the devil deceives them into believing that they are doing this for God and so they, genuinely, believe that what they do is right. Here I have to say that in parts of my life I have also been guilty of that.

As an amplifier to all of what I have said so far, I have had a call from another friend and she has brought news of further attacks by the devil on lives. She has taken steps to allow God to move in the life of herself and her family but, as a result of that, the devil has begun an all out attack on the health of her family, with all of them been stricken with severe health problems since the decision was made.

You see, the devil does not want this to come together because it frightens him.

R. J. Burling