The United States of America is under attack and many of us are afraid for our lives and our children’s lives. Most of us don’t have any Muslim friends because they make up only about 1% of the American population (source link below), so we are unsure what to think about Muslims and their religion.
From our limited point of view, it’s easy to assume that the Muslim (Islamic) religion leads to beheadings and to the sexual slavery of girls and women.
We are terrified as a nation, and we have every right to be, but where is God in our terror? Should we be fearful of all Muslims? Why is God allowing all of these acts of terror on our American soil? Is it because we have been disobedient to God? Is God judging us as a nation? Has God turned His back on us as we become a more “secular” country?
Some would say, “yes, absolutely,” but let’s examine scripture, facts, and reason.
Firstly, America has always been plagued by sin. Sadly, our nation was stolen from Native Americans and then built on the backs of Africans. White supremacy has reigned in our country since its very beginnings, and it is woven into our nation’s fabric. To this day, Americans are still dealing with the backlash of building our nation on racism and inequality.
Racism and inequality of any kind dehumanizes people. When we dehumanize people, hate begins to breed in our hearts. In our country, a substantial number of white Christian men have raped and tortured humans. Throughout American history, many white Christian men have raped Native American, black, and white girls and women.
Further, many white Christian men have enslaved, beaten, and murdered African Americans; and much of this was justified with people’s interpretations of the Christian Bible.
Today, most white American Christian men stand firmly against slavery, rape, torture, and greed. If God wanted to judge our nation for sin, why is God just now judging us and why does our nation seem to be such a blessed nation (even among the terrorist acts)?
Those who believe that God still judges entire nations with mass murders and natural disasters do not understand what it means to be “New Covenant Christians (Hebrews 9:15).” Yes, in the Old Testament, God judged nations and even wiped out the whole human population at one point (except Noah’s family), but Jesus Christ changed everything.
Do you remember this old hymn?
Jesus paid it all
All to Him I owe
Sin had left a crimson stain
He washed it white as snow
Lord, now indeed I find
Thy power and Thine alone
Can change the leper’s spots
and melt the heart of stone
We have seen the face of God in the person of Jesus Christ, and He is not who we thought He would be from some Old Testament passages. God showed Himself to be love (1 John 4:8). Scripture tells us that God took on human flesh, and came to this world to sacrifice Himself on all of humanity’s behalf (Phil. 2:7; John 1:14).
“Old Testament God” was no longer satisfied with humans sacrificing animals for their sins. It wasn’t enough to satisfy God’s hatred of sin and deep longing to be in relationship with all people, who make up all nations. The only person that could satisfy God’s wrath is God Himself because God is the only perfect sacrifice.
Romans 5:9 says,
Much more then, having been justified by His [Jesus’] blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him.
This means that God is not angry with humanity, and that all of His wrath has been satisfied at the Cross. But is this just for Christians or is this for all humans? John 3:16 says it best:
For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.
Salvation is in Christ alone (John 1:29 & 4:16; Acts 4:12; 1 Tim 2:5-6), but Christ’s love and sacrifice is for all who want it (John 3:16).
As Christians, we don’t win souls by treating all Muslims like terrorists.
According to Pew Research,
Recent surveys show that most people in several countries with significant Muslim populations have an unfavorable view of ISIS, including virtually all respondents in Lebanon and 94% in Jordan. Relatively small shares say they see ISIS favorably (source link above).
ISIS are extremists and they use the Quran to justify evil, just like white American Christian men did and do use the Bible to justify slavery and the ongoing abuses of women and people of color in this country. If we take the whole Bible literally and our hearts are already evil, we can use the Bible to justify unthinkable acts of terror.
For example, Psalms 137:9 says,
Happy is one who takes your babies and smashes them against the rocks!
Christians could easily justify smashing their enemies’ infants against rocks and murdering babies if we don’t understand that we are “New Covenant Christians.”
Jesus (God in the flesh) challenged Old Testament Scriptures like these with “upside down kingdom” thinking. He said in Matthew 5:43-45,
You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 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.
God blesses sinful nations, because all nations are sinful and always have been. God blesses those who have been made righteous through Christ and those who have not yet made Christ their Lord. God loves those who are mostly evil and God loves those who are mostly good.
As “New Covenant Christians,” we must always read the entire Bible in the context of Jesus Christ. If we don’t, we too are prone to become like our enemies – full of hate in our hearts, hiding behind religion.
God is not judging America. God is with us, suffering among us. We know this because we see God in Jesus, who suffered both for us and with us. Scripture does point to a final judgement day (Matthew 25:31-46), but we must remember who our God is when tragedy strikes and fear tries to take root in our hearts. The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love (Psalm 103:8).
God’s written Word tells us that there is no fear in love and again, God is love.
Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love (1 John 4:18).
The heart of God is that all people come to know Christ. When we as Christians focus on God’s judgement, we only turn people away from Christ. We are to be a peculiar people, a priesthood of believers, who shine brightly in a dark world (1 Peter 2:9).
It’s God’s love, kindness, and tolerance that lead us and others to repentance (Romans 2:4), not fear of judgement.
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