I know that we are to pray for the needs of the families affected by the terrorists' attacks on the nation, but does the Bible tell us how we should react towards perpetrators and supporters of these evil deeds?
While God calls us to love our neighbor (Matt. 22:39) and to love our enemy (Matt. 5:43-44), He also tells us to defend ourselves.
God has established governments to suppress evil.
And it is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men, And knowledge to men of understanding. (NASB) Daniel 2:21
Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil. (NASB) Romans 13:1-4
God has given governments the authority to use the sword to suppress evil. Unfortunately, some governments abuse their God given authority. The Roman empire was one such example. This has real meaning for us, since the apostle Paul wrote the above words while the Roman Empire was still in power. God has granted world governments the right to police their own people and to go to war. That implies each nation has the God given right to have a military force and enlist its citizens as soldiers. God calls us to submit to government (so long as we are not asked to disobey God – see Acts 5:29). It is His will for us!
Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed . . . (NASB) Titus 3:1
Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. Honor all men; love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king. (NASB) 1 Peter 2:13-17
God also wants us to assume responsibility for removing evil from our midst.
. . . Remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. Cease to do evil, Learn to do good; Seek justice, Reprove the ruthless; Defend the orphan, Plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together,” Says the LORD, “Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool.” (NASB) Isaiah 1:16-18
God was upset with the Israelites because they did not remove evil. God established capital punishment for the purpose of removing evil from among the people.
But if there is any further injury, then you shall appoint as a penalty life for life . . . (NASB) Exodus 21:23
. . . thus you shall purge the evil from among you. (NASB) Deuteronomy 19:19
How should we respond to the terrorists? First, we need to pursue them and remove the evil. That is our government’s responsibility and we should support our government. Second, we should be praying for them that they come to know the true God – Jesus Christ. It is Jesus Christ and not Allah Who is the true God.
And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men, by which we must be saved. (NASB) Acts 4:12