The events in Christchurch New Zealand towards the end of last week offered yet more evidence of the hatred and suspicion that many people harbour towards Muslims and Islam. Of course it’s not the first attack of this kind, and sadly there have been many more the other way: the attacks in London and New York and Paris among them, and the ongoing persecution across North Africa.
So what should our response be to Muslims who live near or work with us? Should we fear them and stay away? Should we treat Muslims as our ‘Abrahamic cousins’ and think of them as almost part of the church? Should we leave them in peace to worship the god they call Allah, or seek to tell them about Jesus? Here are 3 things we must remember, and 4 things we can all do as God gives us opportunity.
1: Muslims are people made in God’s image and should be treated with love and respect. There is never an excuse for racism, hatred, scorn or violence.
2: Muslims and Christians worship different Gods. Even their teachings about Abraham are different, and they reject Jesus’ divinity and his death on the cross.
3: Muslims need to hear about Jesus. Jesus is the only one who can save us, so whilst their faith may be sincere, it is misplaced. Muslims need to hear the gospel.
So what should we do? PRAY for deepening friendships with Muslims you know. ASK them about their faith and seek to understand them and their beliefs. SHARE your life with them; help them, serve them, love them. Then, when you get the chance, ask if you can TELL them about Jesus. Do it gently, respectfully and clearly. But don’t pull any punches. They need the truth- as did you!