Salaam Alaikum. This is not really a question or challenge or debate starter or anything like that, and I guess you could say it is more of a rant and are just some of my thoughts and reflections. Feel free to read it if you are interested, or ignore it if you are not.
If you want to add anything or comment on or discuss or debate what I wrote, feel free. I'd look forward to reading whatever you have to say and responding.
One of Jesus' teachings in the Bible is about loving one's enemies.
Matthew 5:43-4843 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor "#fen-NIV-23278a" - a ]">[ http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Matthew+5%3A43-48&version=NIV#fen-NIV-23278a - a ] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children
of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the
good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
I have heard people, both
non-Christians and more disappointingly even some Christians, say that
loving one's enemies is an "unrealistic" concept that should not be
taken literally or applied in our world today. The word "impractical" has often been used to describe these words, and others have used more harsh terms. This does not apply to my discussions with anyone on Islamicity, but just what I have heard people say in the past.
I'd like to provide some examples of real people who loved Jesus and followed Him, and did in fact love their enemies.
I will only give three, you will find many thousands in history.
In the Book of Acts, Paul and Silas were imprisoned for their faith and
put into prison. They were both whipped with rods and kept in chains.
They were denied their God given dignity and treated like animals.
Thee was an earthquake, and the prison doors opened, and there would
have been a great chance to break out. The man in charge of the prison,
in whose building and probably with his knowledge if not under his
command Paul and Silas and God knows how many other people were tortured
if not later executed, was about to commit suicide. Instead of running
away and letting him take his own life, they reported themselves to him
and chose not to run. They then shared the Gospel with him and he became
16As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl
who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by
fortune-telling. 17She followed Paul and us, crying out, "These men are
servants[ http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=acts%2016&version=ESV#fen-ESV-27487e - e ]
of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation." 18And
this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed,
turned and said to the spirit, "I command you in the name of Jesus
Christ to come out of her." And it came out that very hour. 19But
when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul
and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers. 20And
when they had brought them to the magistrates, they said, "These men
are Jews, and they are disturbing our city. 21They advocate customs that
are not lawful for us as Romans to accept or practice." 22The crowd
joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them
and gave orders to beat them with rods. 23And when they had inflicted
many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer
to keep them safely. 24Having received this order, he put them into the
inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. The Philippian Jailer Converted
25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God,
and the prisoners were listening to them, 26and suddenly there was a
great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And
immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were
unfastened. 27When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were
open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that
the prisoners had escaped. 28But Paul cried with a loud voice, "Do not
harm yourself, for we are all here." 29And the jailer[ http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=acts%2016&version=ESV#fen-ESV-27499f - f ]
called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down
before Paul and Silas. 30Then he brought them out and said, "Sirs, what
must I do to be saved?" 31And they said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and
you will be saved, you and your household." 32And they spoke the word
of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33And he took them
the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized
at once, he and all his family. 34Then he brought them up into his house
and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire
household that he had believed in God.
Paul and Silas had the chance of a lifetime to escape, yet out of love
for this man and obedience to God, they stayed and saved him from
himself as well as the authorities who would punish him for allowing an
escape... and the eternal flames of hell by turning to Christ.
was a Christian living in 16th century Holland. He was an anabaptist, a
member of a group who tried to stay true to God's word (the Bible) and
did not allow infant baptisms, spoke out against the materialism and
moral corruption that diseased many of the powerful church leaders at the
time, and renounced all forms of violence choosing instead to love
imprisoned for his faith and was to be burned alive by the authorities.
He was placed in a high tower and fed very little for month as he waited
for a show trial, that would be followed by an agonizing death at the
stake. He managed to escape out the window, and began running for his
life. It was winter, and he began to run across a frozen river. His thin
body was very light. A prison guard gave chase, and tried to follow
him. He fell through the ice, and began drowning. Dirk
had a choice. He could run for his life and escape an unjust imprisonment and execution, and leave his tormentor to die.
He chose instead to turn back and lift his pursuer out of the water.
Upon this heroic deed, he was arrested and re-imprisoned. He was later
burned alive and died a martyr. http://www.goshen.edu/mqr/Dirk_Willems.html - -
The last example I'd like to share is that of Sister Leonella Sgorbati.
She was a Catholic nun who was born in a small town in Italy, and always
wanted to be a missionary and share the Gospel with people, and serve
the poor as Jesus command us to, She became a nurse, and took her skills
to Kenya and Somalia, where she first worked as a nurse in hospitals,
and then began training local nurses. She set up a nursing school and
helped Somali and Kenyan people achieve an education in the medical
field that they could use to support themselves and help others. She
worked in some very dangerous areas, especially Somalia which had no
government at that time and is now controlled by a group of US-backed
warlords who terrorize their people and collaborate with the Ethiopian
occupiers; they are involved in fighting with a militant Islamic
movement called Al-Shabaab who claim to be fighting to end the
occupation but like the US-backed warlords also commit appalling crimes
against the Somali people.
She knew Somalia was not a safe place, but she put Jesus first.
On September 17, 2006, Leonella was leaving a children's hospital in
Mogadishu with a bodyguard. Two gunmen ambushed them, and they were both
riddled with bullets. Leonella was shot in the back. As she lay dying
in a pool of blood, she said "Perdono; perdono". In English, this
means "I forgive, I forgive". Her 30 years of serving Jesus among the
people of Kenya and Somalia came to an end.
She was shot in the back by brutes and cowards- who else can shoot a 66
year old woman in the back? Instead of dying sorrounded by loved ones,
she died on the street. Yet the last choice she made on this earth was
to forgive the people who did this to her. She loved the poor, and she
loved her enemies. She followed Jesus, because she loved Him. And she
died for it.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonella_Sgorbati - Leonella Sgorbati - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Were Leonella and Dirk and Paul being
'unrealistic'? In the eyes of people who don't know God and only value
this life, the answer is yes. In the eyes of those who believe that the
only way to combat injustice or to get one's way is to be prepared to
kill, the answer also is probably yes.
According to the world's standards, they were probably fools. But they
showed that love for enemies is not unrealistic or impractical. It can
be lived out, if one has put his or her faith in God and is prepared to
follow Him all the way.
May God lead us all to Him and may we find the courage and determination
to follow Christ the way these heroes have had. I pray that people who
do not yet know Jesus are inspired by these heroes to put their faith in
God who has showed us His perfect love on the cross and has given
people like Paul and Dirk and Leonella
the courage to be blessings to others and to be true witnesses in their
actions as well as their words. I pray that Christians who have fallen
for the lies propagated by nationalists and presidents and generals and
even some church officials wake up and realize that violence and war are
not the answers to the world's problems, but instead the sacrificial
love of Christ expressed on Calvary and the actions of those who have