The greatest commonality in the ever-growing anti-Muslim rhetoric in America, and in Central Minnesota, is that most people that are choosing to live in fear and anger toward the Muslim community identify as Christians. Many Christians are concerned that their religion is being hijacked in such a way that does not tell the truth of what they believe in, who they are, and how they feel led to interact with the world. If you identify as a Christian, do you have a hard time knowing what to say to other Christians in your town, your family, or even in your church that have blanket hatred or fear of Muslims?
One Christian woman that is using the Bible and her love for Jesus to combat this fear and hatred is Rochelle, a woman who grew up in Waite Park, and now raises her 4 kids with her husband Stephen in Georgia. She follows Central Minnesota news and is a friend of #unitecloud, reading about and praying for the health and vibrancy of her hometown. Below you’ll find her explanation as to why, if you identify as Christian, you have no choice but to walk in love for all people, and that Christians must choose to follow the example of Jesus, humbling themselves in obedience to God.
I watch, with a wary eye, Christians who are seemingly becoming radicalized in their anti-Muslim fervor. They are not portraying the God of grace and love that the world so desperately needs to see. They have lost sight of the Great Commission (Matthew 28: 19-20). Instead, they live in favor of gun caches and paranoia. As Christians we must pour ourselves into scripture and remember that “there is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear” (1 John 4:18).
I am not saying we should not defend our children if need be, but, let’s be careful we are not radicalizing them. We should be cautious to observe that the vast majority of the victims of Islamic terrorists are their own Islamic brothers and sisters. If we cultivate fear, rage and arrogance in our children, we will reap what we sow.
Unfortunately, some Christians read the Old Testament and Revelation and think that God needs our help to rise up against the infidel. They forget what happens when those like Abraham lose patience with God’s promises and take over the fulfillment of those promises themselves (Genesis 16 and 21).
Jesus did not come to establish an earthly kingdom, even in the face the brutal Roman regime. He came to proclaim hope to a hopeless world and then to give Himself as a ransom for our sin. In His return, the establishment of His kingdom is His work alone.
“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” – Ephesians 6:12
We need to carefully check our hearts and our motives to make sure the same paranoia, arrogance, rage and unforgiveness that Christ came to set us free from are not taking root. These attitudes are what we see controlling the radicalized terrorists. Since it is true that “hurt people hurt people”, we must purposefully embrace Christ’s heart of humble forgiveness, grace and trust for the Father’s plan so that we don’t hurt others out of our own hurts.
Personally, I pray that my my children absorb and imitate my discourse and interactions with others. As a parent, God tells me to: “Impress [these truths] on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Write them on the door frames of your houses and on your gates” (Deuteronomy 6:5-9). My life must be saturated with demonstrations of loving the Lord my God with all my heart, soul and mind. But, also, I must demonstrate love for my “neighbors” as myself (Luke 10:25-37).
Christians, let’s pray for wisdom in our daily lives, and for our world leaders; that we would seek honest answers to a growing epidemic of fear and anger on all sides. We must not allow those attitudes to be our driving force. It is my prayer, rather, that nations would make compassionate and purposeful policies, and that my personal daily interactions would be ones in which people see something different in me than they see in this world.
Lord, help us to first and foremost show your love to every individual that you carefully place in our paths, that they might be confronted by humanities’ utter unworthiness and yet your limitless grace, and that they might be set free from bondage of sin and death. May we lay our lives at your feet and trust in You and Your plan, regardless of what that means. May Christ’s example be the foundation of every attitude and action. Amen.
You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had. Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form, he humbled himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross. Therefore, God elevated him to the place of highest honor and gave him the name above all other names, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue declare that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. – Philippians 2:5-11