Last month Luke and I had a special date night in our closest major city, Pittsburgh. I grew up 30 minutes south of Pittsburgh, so I am pretty familiar with the location.
We have always had lots of white and black faces in our city, but not many brown. Yet, about a month ago, I noticed a shift in the atmosphere.
After Luke and I had dinner, we laughingly and casually walked down the street and ran into a young middle eastern man who was taking a spin on his “hands free segway.”
I immediately felt a quickening in my heart to speak to the 22-year-oldish guy.
I was pretty sure the young guy was a Muslim and I wondered if he felt lonely in a sea of white and black faces, in a country that often views Muslims as a great threat.
I felt God telling me to show him a bit of love, but he ended up showing Luke and I more love and friendliness than I expected.
I said, “Hey there. What is that you are riding?” In his broken English, he said, “Oh, this is a segway.” I said, “Oh wow, can I try?” He said, “Sure.”
He reached out his large brown hand and I placed my small white hand in his.
He held my hand as I struggled to maintain balance. Of course, Luke was cracking up at me, as I rode down the sidewalk, hand-in-hand with a stranger, trying not to fall and crack my head open (it is harder than it looks).
Luke laughed too soon, because the moment I stepped off the segway, our new middle eastern friend looked at Luke and said, “Your turn.”
In the same way he reached out for my hand, he reached out for Luke’s hand. Luke placed his large white hand in his large brown hand and they took a spin. By this point, the three of us could not stop laughing. We all looked ridiculous, but for me, it was a divine appointment.
I walked away knowing that God was teaching me a lesson. God was showing me that Muslims are simply people, like you and I.
It is not only small-minded to determine that all Muslims are terrorists or a threat; it is also racist and ungodly.
Sadly, I hear Christians say things like, “If we let those Muslims in, they will hurt our children?” As Christians, we are called to love and welcome those who may look different than us or even practice a different religion than us.
My heart is broken for Paris, the City Of Love, but I don’t blame Muslims. I blame terrorists.
I understand that these terrorists are murdering in the name of their religion, but that does not mean that all Muslims support such evil in the name of Allah.
The truth is that every religion has extremists who use their “bible” to justify and support evil. The enemy is not Muslims; the enemy is ISIS and other terrorist who are torturing white, black and brown people of all religions.
ISIS has claimed responsibility for the worst violence witnessed in France since World War II, a volley of nearly simultaneous terror attacks that the French President called “an act of war.” The assailants targeted six sites Friday night in Paris, the deadliest being a massacre at a concert hall where at least 80 people were killed. In all, French authorities put the number of dead at 128, though the death toll is expected to fluctuate as the situation becomes clearer. The threat of ISIS is well-known, with the jihadist group’s atrocities in Syria and Iraq being met with condemnation and airstrikes by a U.S.-led coalition that includes France (Source Here).
Interesting how #MuslimsAreNotTerrorist is used to spread islam teachings. But funny that no other religion today needs such a hashtag.
— Jānis Olekšs (@Jan_Olex) November 14, 2015
As children of God, fear has no place in our hearts.
Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand (Isaiah 41:10).
As Christians, we believe that Jesus Christ came to earth as the embodiment of perfect love, and “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear…(1 John 4:18). ”
We have no reason to be afraid. Our lives in Christ are eternal. If we die tomorrow we will spend our lives basking in the safety of God, our Father.
Let us stand with Paris today as they have suffered great loss, but let us also stand with Muslims, showing them that we love them and we are not afraid of them. Let us loosen our grip on fear and lay down our temptation to judge people based off their skin color and religion.
You are the light of the world. A city lying on a hill is unable to be hidden. -Matthew 5:14
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