How Shall We Love Our Muslim Neighbor Like Jesus Christ Would?
- Monday, February 04, 2008
There are as many answers to this question as there are ways to do good and not wrong. “Love does no wrong to a neighbor” (Romans 13:10). “Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4). Here are some things that, it seems to me, need to be emphasized in our day.
The mention of loving our enemies is not meant to imply that all Muslims feel or act with enmity toward Christians. They don’t. They are often hospitable and kind and caring. The point is that even when someone treats us with enmity (of whatever religion or non-religion), we should continue loving.
Another clarification is needed in our context today. When I say that love calls us to do good in practical ways that meet physical needs I do not mean that this help is offered contingent on Muslims becoming Christians. Practical love is a witness to the love of Christ. Witness is not withheld where it is needed most. Conversions coerced by force or finances contradict the very nature of saving faith. Saving faith is a free embrace of Jesus as our Savior, Lord, and highest Treasure. He is not a means to treasure. He is the Treasure.
1. Pray the fullest blessing of Christ on them whether they love you or not.
- Luke 6:28 - Bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.
- Romans 12:14 - Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them.
- 1 Corinthians 4:12 - When reviled, we bless.
2. Do good to them in practical ways that meet physical needs.
- Luke 6:27 - Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you.
- Luke 6:31 - As you wish that others would do to you, do so to them.
- 1 Thessalonians 5:15 - See that no one repays anyone evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to everyone.
- Romans 12:20 - If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.
3. Do not retaliate when personally wronged.
- 1 Peter 3:9 - Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing.
- Romans 12:17, 19 - Repay no one evil for evil ... Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord."
4. Live peaceably with them as much as it depends on you.
- Romans 12:18 - If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.
5. Pursue their joyful freedom from sin and from condemnation by telling them the truth of Christ.
- John 8:31-32 - Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”
6. Earnestly desire that they join you in heaven with the Father by showing them the way, Jesus Christ.
- Romans 10:1 - Brothers, my heart's desire . . . for them is that they may be saved.
- John 14:6 - Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”
- John 3:16 - “Whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
7. Seek to comprehend the meaning of what they say, so that your affirmations or criticisms are based on true understanding, not distortion or caricature.
- 1 Corinthians 13:6 - Love does not rejoice at wrong, but rejoices with the truth.
8. Warn them with tears that those who do not receive Jesus Christ as the crucified and risen Savior who takes away the sins of the world will perish under the wrath of God.
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