As the ninth anniversary of 9/11 approaches, the battle continues to rage over plans to build a mosque near ground zero; a church in Gainesville, Florida has dubbed the day International Burn a Quran Day; and analysis of the 9/11 text messages posted by Wikileaks reveals that the greatest emotional response to the attack was not anxiety or sadness, but anger. Here’s a chart showing how we felt as the day progressed:
I submit that the anger represented in this chart has only continued to increase over the past nine years. Not satisfied with destroying Iraq and Afghanistan, with murdering thousands of civilians, we seek further revenge. We want to burn their holy books and prevent them from building their holy buildings. In our hearts, we don’t want them in our country. As many people I know would say privately, “kill the towelheads.”
I am not concerned with how the “many people” act. As Paul told us,
For what have I to do with judging outsiders? Do you not judge those who are within the church? But those who are outside, God judges. REMOVE THE WICKED MAN FROM AMONG YOURSELVES. (1 Corinthians 5:12-13)
But I am deeply concerned with those who call themselves Christians, particularly those in public places, for I am seeing and hearing little on this subject that reflects Christ. I am particularly grieved by the common attitude that Americans “deserve” the respect of Islam, that our desires are more important than theirs, which is the complete opposite of this biblical injunction:
Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; (Philippians 2:3)
If we are truly living for Christ, then our concern would be to win Muslims to Christ, not satisfy our own sensibilities.
Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. (Matthew 10:16)
Do not mistake my meaning. I am not among those who think that all religions are equal, or that Muslims are going to heaven.
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me. (John 14:6)
I believe this completely, and am convinced that until I was born again at 39, I was destined to hell. No good deeds or acts of martyrdom will gain us access to God. Only repentance and faith that Jesus died for our sins can accomplish that.
So then, if we have truly been saved by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, our response should not be to banish Muslims or denigrate Muslims, because it is not Muslims that we battle:
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. (Ephesians 6:12)
This is an oft-quoted verse, but at least as it relates to 9/11 and Islam, few Christians seem to actually believe it. We respond no differently than the world. We want to keep what we think is ours, and forget that it all belongs to God. And we want revenge. Oh, how we want revenge.
Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “VENGEANCE IS MINE, I WILL REPAY,” says the Lord. “BUT IF YOUR ENEMY IS HUNGRY, FEED HIM, AND IF HE IS THIRSTY, GIVE HIM A DRINK; FOR IN SO DOING YOU WILL HEAP BURNING COALS ON HIS HEAD.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. (Romans 12:17-21)
If we continue to seek revenge, if we continue to try to outlaw Muslims in this supposed land of the free, then we are exposed as hypocritical Christians and have already been overcome by evil … and Islam has won America.