As Beve and I were walking through Costco last night, he said, "Did you hear about that church in Florida?"
Since I'd spent my entire day in the car driving our son around, with my radio station turned firmly to the Canadian Broadcasting Network, because listening to classical music is the only way to survive driving around town, I had to admit I hadn't heard any US news at all. The only downside I can ever think of about not knowing current news is that I don't always know what people are talking about at parties. However, after about three sentences, I usually catch up. Nevertheless, what Beve told me last night in the tool aisle at Costco had me stopping in my tracks.
"On September 11, they're going to burn the Qu'ran," Beve told me.
"Oh no," I breathed in. "Oh Lord," I breathed out.
I have been so troubled by this act by this tiny church that it troubled my sleep last night. Of course, my sleep is easily troubled, but usually it's about things closer to home. However, this hits home. At least it should. For all of us who call ourselves Christians--ones who would be like Him--it should trouble our sleep and our waking and our walking-around lives. Whenever people who call themselves by His name set out to do something so absolutely abhorrent to who He is and what He says, we should be appalled, ashamed, horrified. These, yes, these are the ones we might well consider the real enemies to His gospel. Why? Because they are feeding upon fear and hate and misunderstanding and practicing evil against their neighbors. Or even against their enemies. And reaping hatred. Yes, a harvest of hate for Christians.
Across the world, Muslims are afraid of Christians. See us as the enemy. Did you know this? Did you know that we are their 'infidels'? They will see such an act, by a tiny church with a wacko, extremist minister and think it representative of Christians. And this is a very sad thing. Just as it's a very sad thing that we lump those who are not like us by the acts of small groups of extremists. I do not know what the Qu'ran tells Muslims about how to treat those unlike them, but I do know what our scriptures tell us. God, while He walked around in human flesh and knew what His enemies would do to Him, told us to "love our enemies." Do good to those who hurt you.
Lay down your life for your brother, love your neighbor as yourself, and love your enemy. These are the mandates we have--from Christ--for our human relationships. Wow it's pretty clear, isn't it? There's nobody left out. Really, who on this earth is outside of one of those three? So there's no choice. Our God tells us to love and to love and to love. "He who does not love does not know God, for God is love." 1 John 4: 7-8
Maybe on the anniversary of such an evil act toward us, we should return good for evil. As Jesus tells us to. What would that be? How can we most show the world, most show Muslims, especially, that we love them, that we really, truly love them as Christ does? Lord, change our hearts. Please, let the world know that we are your disciples.