And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Hebrews 11:6)
I talked to a man last night who earnestly loves God. He prays regularly. When he sins, he asks God for forgiveness. He even calls God, the Mercy-Giver. He believes everything he has found out so far about Jesus (and he’s found out a lot — more than many others have who claim to follow Christ). He has adopted as the purpose of his life that which Jesus said embodied all of the law: to love the Lord his God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength, and to love his neighbor as himself. He knows that Jesus is going to return some day to judge the world so he humbles himself and weighs his choices in light of that fact. He is seeking to live at peace with everyone around him, including his enemies, whom he is seeking to love because Jesus told him too. He even believes that Jesus is the Messiah and He has reconciled us to God. If this man were my neighbor, I would want to walk and talk with him; I believe he would undoubtedly make me a better follower of Christ.
There’s only one problem: he’s Muslim.
Oh dear, what do I do now? Do I suddenly assume he’s got it all wrong? Is he an imposter? Is he evil? Is he going to lead me astray? Do I stay away from him now? Is he talking about a different Jesus than I am? Is he talking about a different God? What have I gotten myself into now? Is he going to try to convert me? Is he going to try to tell me I am wrong? Is he going to try and take over the world? Am I an infidel? Do we suddenly have nothing in common? Do I have to shut my door to this man because he has the potential to be radicalized and kill me to honor his religion?
If you choose to live in fear, you will believe thing like that. If you choose to live in love, then perfect love casts out all fear. “Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres” (1 Corinthians 13:6-7). Therefore, I rejoice in the truth along with my newfound Muslim friend. It’s not up to me to figure out whether or not he has the right Jesus. Everything he’s told me about Jesus so far is right on with the Jesus I know, right down to His every word. God will be his judge, not me.
Find out what you agree on, and trust God for the rest. We don’t walk alone; the Holy Spirit walks with us, and He will guide us into all truth. Our job is not to make converts, but to make disciples, and we do that by walking and talking and bearing witness to what we know about Christ. God takes it from there.
Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. (Romans 12:17-19)
May the Lord add His blessing to the reading of His word.
To meet the man I’m talking about, click here for last night’s BlogTalkRadio show.