from Shane's Muslim Connect
Have you ever had occasion to tell someone about your commitment to Muslims? It can be awkward, no? I met a fascinating couple recently. As we chatted, I asked what they did. Both were scientists. When they asked me, I said I was a pastor and a writer, that I helped Christians figure out how to act like Jesus toward Muslims. They responded, with eyebrows raised so high they could have doubled as sun visors, “That’s interesting!”
It can be difficult to befriend, defend, and contend for people who follow a faith that differs from ours in such key ways and whose adherents, no matter the minuscule percentage they represent, do reprehensible things.
Why do we care about Muslims?
I think about Jesus cleansing the temple, the “bomb in the barnyard,” a catalytic action that would see Jesus dead just a week later. Such a crazy event on the face of it, but when you dig deeper, even more provocative. Jesus quotes Isaiah and Jeremiah: “. . .my house will be called a house of prayer for all nations, but you have made it a den of thieves.” Assuming most of his listeners would know the contexts of these quotes, the implications are stunning.
Among many other promises, God says through the prophets, “I will also bless the foreigners who commit themselves to the Lord,” and “I will be merciful . . .only if you stop exploiting foreigners, orphans, and widows. . . .” (Is. 56.6, Jer. 7.5-6)
That’s part of why we love Muslims: We long for them not to be exploited for cheap, fear-mongering headlines, for political pawns, for bogeymen de jour. We long rather for them to receive the good blessings of a great God through Jesus.
May the same Jesus who cleared the Temple clear our consciences to see Muslims, to love them with the same love he has.
If you enjoy Shane's contributions to our blog and find value in it, please ask God if he'll give you grace to send a gift. Simply click here, find the "Staff" drop down and select "Shane Bennett." Thank you very much.