I never won an argument by yelling at another person.
I never stopped an argument by hurting another person as much as they have hurt me.
It’s been really big news about the Florida preacher who was going to have the “burn a Koran” day at his church. The Koran is the basis of the Muslim faith, and as it would if there was a “burn a Bible” day, produced a huge outcry from Muslims. So much so that there have been deaths and shootings overseas from this incident.
Can you imagine what that must feel like?
You do something thoughtlessly controversial and end up indirectly causing death and pain from violent actions. In addition, you put the lives of American military personnel in even greater danger than they are already. In short, you wake up in the morning and think to yourself “somebody died today because of what I did.” I wonder if that is how the preacher in Florida feels?
What I think the preacher did wrong was supposedly “standing up” for his beliefs and then letting someone else suffer for it. He didn’t really have any “skin” in the game as he stood safely in the U.S. behind our military. Ultimately, he should have wanted to spread the gospel to the Muslims. He probably made stronger Muslims by attacking them. Also, if he wanted to spread the gospel to Muslims, then he could have flown to a Muslim country, walked down into their town square and started preaching Christianity. That would have been an extremely risky proposition, but God would have been more impressed if he risked and lost his own life for his glory and not somebody else’s.
Still, I always feel uncomfortable talking about religion in public. It’s because I’m unworthy by my actions and nature to even dream to speak about what God wants said. I feel like God has shown me the way to Heaven, but I’m not sure I’ll make it. No, God will never send me to Hell. I will go there due to my own choices in life and by the freewill he’s given me. God’s given me the grace and mercy to make it to Heaven. But if I reject it, then I will go to hell. It’s a thought that troubles me daily.
Now, with that said, here’s what I think.
I don’t believe in the Koran. I believe in the Bible.
After half a century of living and much reading of the Bible, I feel I have come to be a Christian.
What does it mean to me to be a Christian? It’s a matter of beliefs.
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, who is the creator of Heaven and Earth. I believe that Jesus Christ is his only son, and our lord. I believe that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and was born of the virgin Mary. I believe Jesus suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, buried and on the third day, he arose from the dead. I believe that Jesus ascended into heaven and sits at the right hand of God, and from there, he will judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the forgiveness of sins, resurrection of the body, and life everlasting.
If that sounds familiar it’s because it all comes from the Apostle’s Creed. That creed sums up what it is to be a Christian.
I believe that ultimately, the way to heaven is through Jesus Christ. Does that mean that I think all Muslims are going to Hell? It doesn’t matter what I think. That’s God’s job. I have no right, duty or power to say who is and who isn’t going to Heaven. I might judge the actions of others, with great peril due to my own actions, but only God can say who is going to Heaven or Hell. This gives me great comfort that God reserved that power to himself.
This doesn’t mean that Christians should not be open about their faith. God did not expect us to be cowardly or ashamed of our walk with him. He does expect you to unapologetically acknowledge his existence among all others in your life.
I honestly believe that the Muslim faith would not have grown so large if we had been more “Christian” in our lives. The Muslims are more outraged with the society in the U.S. by the things that we do that are “not Christian” than by those things that “are Christian.” You need only look around in our nation to see daily reminders of this.
Finally, I’m not really worried about anyone destroying our Christian faith. If, after 2,000 years, we haven’t been able to destroy it ourselves, then who else could?
Have the faith that comes from knowing.
Take care my friend.