Over the past few weeks I have been quite disturbed by what I have been reading on facebook from many Christians regarding Muslims and the Islamic faith. As the Middle East struggles to control IS and their soldiers from committing what can only be described as horrific crimes, the response from some Christians has left me in disbelief.
It is true that those committing these crimes are from an Islamic background and it is also true that what they do is certainly not reflective of the entire Muslim population or their faith (Even some Christians have misinterpreted scripture.) What frightens me is that some of those who are responding in aggressive and disrespectful ways are of the Christian faith. Do I believe that what is happening in Iraq and Syria is wrong? Absolutely!! Do I believe that the God of the Christian faith is the one true God? Absolutely!! Do I believe that responding the way that some have chosen to is right? No I don't.
In John 3:17 Jesus tells us that He came to save the world and not condemn it. As I have reflected on this in recent days and think about how some have responded to those of the Islamic faith I am reminded that Jesus never ever judged anyone based on what they did or on what they believed. He challenged them absolutely, but he was never aggressive in response to anothers actions. As Christians we are called to love our neighbour as ourselves (LEV 19:18, Matt 22:36-40) and we do not have the right to repay evil with evil (Romans 12:17) It is hard in these times to remain true to the teaching of Christ and Jesus tells us that in the last days the hearts of many will grow cold (Matt 24:4-14.)
God reminds us that it is OK to be angry however, in our anger we are called not to sin. There are things in this world that are certainly not of God and present much hate and injustice and anger is normal in these circumstances. However, we do need to be careful that our response to such things does not cause us to step outside of what God calls to do and be. Our response to these issues in our world should be in love and grace. As Christians we should be challenging these issues as they are certainly not Kingdom values but we need to be mindful that the world is watching. How we respond to those of other faiths and beliefs will either glorify God or simply turn people from Him. If we respond in a way that is aggressive and failing to act in love and grace then we are no different to those committing these atrocities in the first place.
Jesus loves all people, even those who commit what we consider the worst sins of all and He calls us to also love our neighbour. Remember it is the human race that categorises sin not God. As far as God is concerned sin is sin, there is no difference. We should be praying for the enemies of God and praying for those affected by their choices rather than getting aggressive toward them. We are in the last days and Jesus is coming soon. As such we need to remain strong and stand firm blessing those who persecute us and not responding with hate (Rom 12:14). I pray that as God's people we would choose to respond the way that He would want us to and not how our flesh calls us to respond.
For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.