Conduct unbecoming Christians

“Florida authorities have forbidden a church in Gainesville to burn the Quran on the anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks. If the church burns the Qur’ans it would suffer a financial penalty. This is due to the municipal law in Gainesville, which prohibits the burning of books in public. However, the church has announced that it plans to burn the books on September 11 in any case.”

The church is non-denominational, and their Facebook page has a statement of intent on this day that call “International Burn A Koran Day:” “On September 11th, 2010, from 6pm – 9pm, we will burn the Koran on the property of Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, FL in remembrance of the fallen victims of 9/11 and to stand against the evil of Islam. Islam is of the devil!” They say their mission is “To bring to awareness to the dangers of Islam and that the Koran is leading people to hell. Eternal fire is the only destination the Koran can lead people to so we want to put the Koran in it’s place – the fire!”

How un-Christian can you get. How misguided can you be.

Though it is true that Islam is of the devil, so are all religions that do not acknowledge that Jesus is the one and only path to salvation. The Koran is not leading others to hell, satan is. Islam is not the enemy, satan is. Focusing on the symptom and not the cause is a mistake, and attacking it is worse. We are not to attack, but to resist. We are not to burn and hate, but to love. There is nothing that we as Christians can do that will be worse than the unbeliever’s eternal torment, but engaging in hateful and negative behaviors this side of judgment is only a confirmation of the unbeliever’s suspicion that Christians, under “their God,” are intolerant.

When unbelievers use the word intolerant, they usually mean “unforgiving.” Forgiveness is what marks the Christian from the rest of the intolerant world, because at the root of forgiveness is love. Who can forget the Amish extension of forgiveness to the murderer of their children and the family of the murderer? In 2006, a suicidal killer rounded up girls aged 6 to 13 inside their school, bound them, laid them down, and massacred them execution style. Several of the parents of the slain girls and others went to the father of the killer, and consoled him. The sobbing father of the killer took one hour to be consoled, but in his grief and shame the love of Jesus shined through the arms holding him. When the Amish instead urged all to forgive, it was a remarkable display of Christian love that reverberates to this day. Satan, that old enemy, had gotten inside the killer’s head and influenced him to do a heinous thing, but the Amish response to this terrible event was love, not hate.

If the Amish had responded with pickets, or burnings, or clenched fists waving angrily, the reverberations for the Kingdom of God would not resound in His courts, but instead, be resounding in the hellfire that satan dwells in. Burning Korans is a senseless and pointless activity that only widens the gap between souls needing salvation and souls who should know better.

Muslims are not our enemy. Satan is our enemy. Muslims are simply lost souls waiting to be harvested. Our love and forgiveness could be the seed that the Holy Spirit grows into wheat, and not chaff destined for the fire.

Note the two images on this blog entry, the book burning far above and the prayer circle just above. Our children are watching you, Dove World Outreach Center. What image do you wish to be indelibly imprinted on their minds? One of forgiveness, or one of hate?