Boko Haram is a Muslim group in Nigeria that is considered more dangerous than some units of Al Qaida. In the name of God, they have struggled violently with the government of Nigeria since 2011, resulting in many deaths.
Recently they raided a girls’ boarding school and kidnapped almost 300 high school girls, mostly Christians. Men with guns forced the girls to leave in the night, and their dormitory was burned. They were taken into the African bush, forced to convert to Islam, and dressed in hijabs. They probably would have been killed if they had refused.
The plan was to sell them to Muslim men for about 12 dollars each, as wives. Apparently the intended result was marital bliss, husbands and wives, and later children, in families.
Most of the world is opposed. The Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, a Muslim cleric who normally does not speak against Muslim violence has said “This is a group that has been set up to smear the image of Islam and must be offered advice, shown their wrong path and be made to reject it.”
Michelle Obama in Washington is appalled by “grown men attempting to snuff out the aspirations of young girls.”
At the time of writing it is clear this will not end well for Boko Haram, even though they have the respectable goal of building marriages and families, and of doing God’s work.
This is an extreme example of doing a bad thing and hoping for a good end, or taking the wrong road to reach the right destination. Jesus spoke of a wide gate and broad road that leads to destruction (Matt 7:13); “wide” because it is easy to find and seems right at the time. Members of Boko Haram probably still see the logic in their actions.
Starting wrong to finish right is a common human condition. Successful human projects must have a righteous start, the switch from wrong to right will not happen midstream. A terrified 12 dollar slave wife is a bad idea that will never turn good.
Many people pick up casual sex partners hoping to find the right one, and maybe settle down. Dating services are making fortunes from burned out prospects who now want a new approach to finding something real. And too many business ventures begin with dishonest practices that will be corrected later, when the money starts coming in.
I am a convinced project manager. I believe we are not converted to “be” Christians, we are saved to serve. The business of every Christian is to build new things for God, and to find success. In the Bible, Timothy was told to avoid ending in shame as a Christian worker (2 Timothy 2:15).
Moralizing in the Bible seems like the road to no fun and much boredom, with instructions like “Flee youthful lusts: and follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Timothy 2:22). But this is project advice for a new approach; start right to end right, and avoid being a perpetual failure.
Boko Haram has something to teach every Christian. Waving the God flag is not enough. The competence of being right is needed from the start.
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16).