A Response to the events in Kenya, Russia, Lebanon, and France
I was out running errands when I heard about the attacks in France. I was upset. Angry. I shook my head at the Arab world around me and said to myself, “So this is the fruit of Islam?” Hatred began to bubble up in my heart.
Heading home, I jumped in the backseat of a cab, hoping that that Pakistani driver would ignore me. Yet, 30 seconds into the trip, the cab driver realize I spoke his language and my hopes for a silent journey vanished.
Feeling argumentative, and wanting to blow off some steam, I asked him if he had heard the news.
He had, and like every other Arab I know, he claimed that those men weren’t real muslims. They weren’t following the way of the prophet.
I disagreed by quoting some choice verses from the Quran, “kill them [the unbeliever] wherever you find them, and turn them out from where they have turned you out,” (Quran 2:191) and said, “I think they are following the Quran quite well.”
My driver quickly explained to me that this verse is speaking of self-defense–“if someone is killing you, you have the right to kill them.”
I said to him, “Oh really? Did you know Jesus said something quite different? Jesus commanded us, “Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also [ . . . ] Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:39, 44)
Silence followed for a good ten minutes. Then he said he had never heard this saying of, “loving your enemies.” He said, “It disturbed him.”
The conversation went deeper . . . Judgement Day . . . Jesus . . . Mohammed . . . forgiveness . . . righteousness. We were in the thick of it by the time we reached the apartment.
We sat in the car in front of the apartment for over a half an hour discussing the teachings of Jesus, and those of Mohammed.
As the conversation ended I left him with a choice, “Mohammed teaches you to kill your enemies. The Jesus teaches to love you enemies. You cannot obey both. Who will you follow?” He said he would think about it.
As I laid down to sleep still stewing from the day, and my own words began to convict me. In my heart I had been praying for the destruction of Daesh (ISIS) and those that supported and carried out the horrendous acts in Lebanon and France, the attack against the Russian Airline, and the slaughter of hundreds of Christians in Syria, Kenya, Iraq. I had given a foothold for hate in my heart. Which command would I obey?
Yes, Daesh (ISIS) must be stopped. I wish to see the violence of Radical Islam put to an end just like every other sane person in the world. The lives of those caught up in Radical Islam will end in one of two ways–a bomb or a Bible. Either they will destroy themselves through suicide bombing, or through the bombings of the opposing nations, or they–like Saul who became Paul–will encounter Jesus and embrace the Bible.
The governments have a God given responsibility to defend and protect its people. They will fulfill their God given role and continue to take force and wage war against ISIS.
Yet, you and I are not members in parliament, Prime Minsters, nor Presidents. We are not of the kingdoms of this world.
You and I are Ambassadors of the Kingdom of Heaven, and the law of God’s Kingdom is love, and His gospel–peace. We are bound by the Law of Christ to forgive, pray, and bless those who persecute us–not seeking revenge, recompense, or to lay curses upon the wicked.
Governments will take up arms and fight, but we are charged by God to lift up our arms, and bow our knees so that those seeking our destruction would turn and encounter Jesus that they might find life.
Mohammed said, “Kill them wherever you find them.” Jesus said “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Who will you follow?
Hero Photo graciously provided by Moyan Brenn Flickr CC – Edits: b&w filter