“If you judge people, you have no time to love them.” – Mother Teresa
Continuing my train of thought from last week’s post, here are five groups of people whom I believe fall under the category of “my neighbor” as Jesus described it in Luke 10:25-37.
- Followers of Islam
- The Third World
- Gays & Lesbians
- That “Other” Political Party
I’ll address each of these in turn over the next several weeks. I don’t pretend any of these are easy situations or relationships to address; but I do contend it is high time for Christ followers to start having honest, humble conversations about what it really means to love these neighbors in a way that authentically honors Christ.
This Week’s Neighbor: The Follower of Islam
In our ever-shrinking world, what is the proper way for a Christ follower to love the Muslim people? I think our great danger in engaging the peoples and nations of the Middle East is in our tendency to confuse an ideology with a human person. We wrongly think that standing against a belief system with which we don’t agree means we must attack or suppress or diminish the human souls who were born under that belief system or choose to follow it. I think this is both contrary to Jesus’ teaching and supremely ineffective at inspiring souls toward faith in Christ, which we must remember is the Great Commission every true follower of Jesus is bound by love to follow.
I have a friend whom I believe is living out the Good Samaritan teaching with our Muslim brothers and sisters in a way Jesus loves. She’s a single woman ~ blond, sassy, a bit of a princess by her own admission, and very American in every way we would all relate to and appreciate. But more important than her citizenship in the United States, she is a citizen of the Kingdom of Heaven. She’s in the Middle East right at this moment, serving refugees displaced by the Syrian conflict, and the conflict in the West Bank. She’s not preaching the gospel from a place of superiority and western arrogance; she’s living the gospel by standing with the oppressed and displaced human souls there and serving them in the name and with the love of Jesus.
Her example inspires me more than I can say. She’s a hero of the faith, and though you may never know her name I’m convinced she’s already famous in heaven, and her story will be told and celebrated by Jesus himself throughout eternity.
It is in large part her example that has led me to this belief: We should stop trying to defeat Islam, and simply start humbly loving and serving its people. That will do more to advance the Kingdom of God in the world than any debate or war ever could.
What do you think? Do you agree with my perspective? Share your thoughts in the comments below.