I know that I'm opening up a rats nest of controversy with this post but I wanted to share a few things with you that have been on my heart lately. I read recently of a church in Gainsville, Florida that will be hosting a book burning on September 11, 2010 in protest of the attacks on our country on that day in 2001. You can read all about that here. And it's not just a regular book but the Koran, a book that is considered holy by countless Muslims. While I don't agree with the Koran or the Muslim faith (I am a devote Christian) I don't think burning the Koran will do any good. It is a blatant disregard for a group of people and their faith.
I believe, that as Christians, we are supposed to model Christ to those who don't know Him. Burning someones book they consider holy is not, in my opinion, an action that Christ would be proud of. I can imagine He is shaking his head in wonder of how a group of people would think this is okay. How are we supposed to reach a group of lost people if we're not modeling Christ to them? Where is the love of Christ in the act of burning a book that someone considers holy?
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children. And walk in love, as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us, a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God.
I'll be very honest with you right now. And by saying this I am exposing myself to criticism but that's okay because someone out there may feel the way I once did. I used to be afraid of people who are from India, South Asia, and so forth. Why? Because I didn't know anyone from there. I wasn't trying to be racist. I didn't hate them because they were different from me. But I was afraid of them. My limited knowledge was of the radicals who attack others by using extreme means. My heart was jaded by the media's reports of attacks and terrorism. And I was wrong. So very, very wrong.
Not all Muslims are violent. Actually many believe in living peacefully with people of different faiths and don't strictly adhere to the teachings of the Koran. Not entirely different than someone who calls them self a christian and yet never graces the doors of a church, leaves their bible on the shelf gathering dust from a lack of use, or the one who calls him/herself a liberal. It is the Islamic radicals that are behind all the attacks and they terrorize everyone, even those of the Muslim faith. And, all religions have their own fanatics that will kill you because you believe differently than they do. Muslim, Hindu and Christian alike. But we can't lump everyone together and think they believe the same things just because of the color of their skin or where they were born. We are all unique individuals with different thoughts, opinions, and feelings. Just because we may look like our neighbor doesn't mean we think like them.
We had amazing neighbors who were a living testament to the fact that most Muslims are a group of people who wish to live peacefully with people of all faiths. And, I try to keep in contact with them even though we've moved to the other side of Houston. She was curious about our christian beliefs and I had the opportunity to share Christ with her and her husband a few times. They weren't indignant or upset with me for talking openly about my faith. They actually asked me questions to why I believed what I believe. We visited one another's homes frequently and our daughters played together on a nearly daily basis. I pray that those seeds that were planted will someday come to fruition and that we'll meet again as brothers and sisters in Christ.
Ramadan began on Wednesday (11th) and goes through September 9th. Please, check out the 30-Day Prayer Network and pray with me for this group of people. Even though this is a Muslim holiday for seeking enlightenment it is the perfect time for us to pray for them. While they are fasting and asking for visions I ask that you pray they will see Christ and that His presence will be made known. I have heard first hand several stories of how whole families have come to know our Father after seeing visions of Christ during their time fasting and praying. They need our prayers now more than ever and I hope you'll join me in this.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.
(All scripture verses are from the English Standard Version Bible)