Staff Editorial: called to love our neighbors despite their actions
Last week, a mob in Libya rioted, causing the death of an American ambassador and three of his staff. The mob was reacting to a video made in the U.S. that mocked the Prophet Muhammad. After this attack, furious people across the nation have condemned Islam of having a violent nature as a religion.
It’s important to remember two things: First, Christianity does not have a spotless record. While Christians’ atrocities tend to be found in history books rather than on the front page — the Inquisition and the Crusades, for example — we still aren’t allowed to forget them. Those instances prove that professing Christian faith doesn’t shield us from committing acts of injustice or senseless violence. We must be vigilant.
Reaching out with compassion
We should take care not to spew vitriol at Muslims too quickly. The Quran is filled with controversial verses, including passages that some modern observers of the Islamic faith wish would go away. Christians can sympathize, remembering there are passages of the Old Testament that some would like to sweep under the rug — although many, especially on our campus, are prepared to analyze and find God’s truth in every difficult word.
This comparison is not meant to excuse the recent sins committed by extremists, but to say that we as the body of Christ ought to respond with mourning for the passed and not let this stop us from reaching out to the Muslim faith with compassion.
The second thing to remember is this: No matter what acts of persecution are leveled against us in the future, we must never react with violence and hate. We are called to show God’s love and forgiveness unconditionally. As mocking religions grows more acceptable, we must maintain a loving attitude of composure.
A call to love others despite actions
If an Islamic man created a video mocking Christianity, how would we respond? We may not agree with their views and not believe in their religion, but we are called to love them. It is our duty to try and reach them and bring them in with the love of Christ. No amount of hatred is going to bring Muslims to Christ.
It is easy to be angry; it is hard to love unconditionally. Yet that is what we are called to do. We are called to love our neighbors, despite their actions. We are called to offer our shirt as well as our cloak. Christ told us not to judge, and reminded us that every sin that we condemn others for, we are guilty of ourselves. Our first reaction should never be condemnation or hatred, but love. Let us love our neighbors still; there’s plenty of work to be done on our own house.