Monday, February 15, 2016

Modern Day Jonahs

Last week, we took a look at our children’s favorite prophet, Jonah.  He had been commanded by God to prophesy to his people’s enemy, the Assyrians, and he was not happy about it.  Even after he obeyed and went to Nineveh, he wanted God to wipe out the people of the city instead of forgive them.  God was not pleased with Jonah’s attitude, and as I watch my social media feeds, I can’t think that He is too happy with some American Christians and their attitude toward Muslims either.

As an example, my local news station posted a story on their website and Facebook about a local imam (leader of a Muslim mosque) who was leaving the area after eight years. (  Those eight years had been
fraught with persecution and controversy.  When the mosque was being built, local residents tried to block its construction both by legal loopholes and downright vandalism. The imam was commenting on the need to find a replacement who has dealt with that kind of conflict. 

Reading the comments on the Facebook article, I took note of the caustic attitude displayed by many who claimed the name of Christians. Some attacked the news station itself, as if reporting the news was somehow wrong. 

“Channel 4 is a libatard [sic] news source! This is anti American and anti Christian!” 

Others talked about Islam itself.  While what they said might not have been wrong, their tone (yes, you do have a tone when you are typing) left much to be desired.

“I help all people in this life too my friend, but I'm not going to keep silent when I see religions like Islam leading people to a godless hell because of their demonic doctrines.” (This comment was in the middle of a nasty argument between Christian and an unbeliever)

“Jesus Christ makes the rules, not I, and He has already told us, "If you do not believe that I am he, you are going to die in your sins." Got a problem with that? Then your problem is with God, not me.”

“Islam is not a religion, it is a government ideology that represses women, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and promotes death and jihad to those who do not convert and they are taught to lie if it helps them reach their objective!”

Still others spoke against the imam himself:

“He can depart back to egypt if he wants to”

This is one small example of a problem that I’ve seen over and over in social media and in our churches.  Blinded by the fear of radical Islamic terrorism (which does exist), many people have decided that all Muslims deserve our disdain and hatred, and they eagerly await the day that God will punish them for their lawless deeds.  They are modern day Jonahs.

But what did God sent Jonah to do?  He sent him to call the Assyrians to repentance so they would not be destroyed. What has God called us to do?  

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20

Folks, “all nations” includes our Muslim neighbors.  Just as God loved and had mercy on the Assyrians, God loves everyone who practices Islam, and he wants them to be saved. “‘As I live,’ declares the Lord God, ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live’” (Ezekiel 33:11). He wants all people to be saved (2 Peter 3:9). The only way Muslims can obey the gospel is if we share it with them. We can’t do that if we are filled with hatred and fear. 

Instead of seeing ourselves as better than Muslims, we must see ourselves as we are: saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8).  We must change our attitudes and perceptions before we can reach Muslims with the good news of Christ.  Join me tomorrow as we talk about ways we can accomplish this task.


1 comment:

  1. I'll be waiting to see the comments on how to accomplish the task of reaching muslims with the gospel. I still have a muslim in my class on Monday nights, still keeps himself detached but he will speak at least as he enters and leaves the room. That's a change and maybe that's a start after 5 weeks of Bible study. Slow and steady might be the key.