Matthew 5:43 and 44 You have heard that it was said, "Love your neighbor and hate you enemy." But I[Jesus] tell you: LOVE your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.
These words rolled off the lips of my beloved Lord and Savior Jesus Christ in the middle of one of his most famous, breathtakingly beautiful sermons, so I was completely confused and horrified yesterday when I learned through a news report that an individual in FL who claims to bear the name of Christ was attacking the Islamic faith by inviting his congregation to attend and participate in a ceremonial burning of copies of the Koran on the anniversary of the infamous World Trade Center terrorist attack. I do not know this man's private motivations, but it seems by the timing and nature of the event that he is acting in poorly aimed retaliation against the men who orchestrated these attacks. Now, I say, "poorly aimed," because he seems to be attacking any and everyone sharing the terrorist's proclaimed faith. I'm confident that, much like this situation, one or two strangely radical personalities in the Islamic faith acted on 9/11/01 without the support or consent of every or any other practicing Muslim! Its sad when the one looney in the bunch does something completely unrepresentative of the group to get recognized by the rest of the world! I fear that just as the poor choices and destorted reasoning of those few terrorists have become, for some, the face of Islam that the unbiblical actions of this one man proclaiming to be a minister of Christ will tarnish the already terribly misrepresented name of Christ Jesus! Anyway, what I want you to know is that Jesus doesn't want us to react to the persecution heaped on our country by teorrists in the past with hate, but rather, love and prayer! Now, folks, that's a biblical response, so what does love for your enemies look like in this situation? I guess it depends who you feel has become your enemy as a result of the events of 9/11/01. If as this minister in FL seems to feel, anyone who practices the Muslim faith fits that description, something as simple as picking up the litter you notice on the lawn of a local mosque might be considered a loving, Christ-honoring action, but for me, I would need to go so far as track down the families of the men who crashed those planes and help fill the gaps whether emotional, spiritual, or financial that have been left in their lives since the deaths of their sons, husbands, and fathers. Since this action is neither practical or logical, after having spoken with a minister at my church, I am considering participation to some extent in the Dearbourne, MI ministry project that strives to minister in all the above mentioned areas to the largest Muslim population in the United States, but I commit to praying for those men's families in an intentional and direct act of love for those terrorists themselves! Those words would catch in my throat if I were speaking them aloud because that is so against my human nature, but I love Christ, and he has called me to love my enemies and pray for those who persecute me, so I will if only for the sake of representing him well to the world around me!:) My commitment to honoring Christ in not only my actions, but also, the attitudes of my heart leads me to proclaim that for my family 9/11 will always and forever be Love-Your-Enemies Day instead of my original thought Love-A-Muslim Day. I don't want the focus to be on Muslims specifically because I feel that identifying the religion as a whole as our enemy is dangerous and inaccurate, and I feel that Love-Your -Enemies gets to the heart of my original thought and intention. I want my Lili to always know how important it is to Jesus that she practice this behavior no matter how counter to her human nature it runs, so tomorrow celebrate with my family Love-Your-Enemies Day and take the time to examine your heart to the point that you are able to identify any people or groups that you classify as enemies or persecutors and take time to pray for them and intentionally love on them!:) Please, pass this thought along to all you know!:)