At the writing of this article, Christians and non-Christians are debating the question of whether or not a mosque should be allowed to be built near Ground Zero in New York.
Peculiar to Christians however, is the discernment by faith. Ask us how we answer tough questions and our immediate response will be through prayer and meditation. In prayer, we call on and rely upon God’s wisdom to shine through.
Some years ago someone thought of the slogan, “WWJD” which stands for “What Would Jesus Do.” There are times when this question is much needed as it pertains to the discernment process. Seeking God’s wisdom and understanding is in most cases, putting aside our own agendas and feelings for His.
At the core of the mosque issue are burning and in-depth feelings of hurt, pain, anger and sorrow; and rightly so. As Americans we all share in the devastating lost of those whose very lives were tragically taken during 911. They and that day will never be forgotten.
This in my mind makes the answer to the question a much more difficult one to come to. In this light, how does my answer keep me from looking like and acting like the enemy?” How does my answer keep me from being what I am supposed to be the opposite of? How do I not be like them?
How do we answer tough questions differently than they do?
Is it easy being a Christian? No! It is the very reason we fail more than we succeed. Saint Peter warned, “Therefore, since Jesus suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same attitude…” (1Peter 4:1)
To the Romans Paul wrote: “Now if we are children, then we are heirs–heirs of God and co-heirs of Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory.” (Romans 18:17)
Again Peter writes, “Cast your worries upon him (Jesus) because He cares for you…Your opponent the devil is prowling around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, steadfast in faith, knowing that your fellow believers throughout the world undergo the same sufferings.” (1 Peter 5:7-9)
So, while we spend time arguing with ourselves and with one another, it seems important to remember what we say and do should sound like and look like what Jesus would say and do. While it is impossible to be Jesus, he did leave us examples and teachings to guide our behavior.
The ultimate question is, on that day when Jesus calls roll for the last time, will there be enough evidence to convict us of being Christians or will we look too much like the enemy? Do we stand to become like them in our effort to defend what we say we believe?
“A good tree does not bear rotten fruit.” Luke 6:43
“Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ but not do what I command?” Luke 6:46
“If anyone wishes to come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me–What profit is there for one to gain the whole world yet lose or forfeit himself?” Luke 9:23-25
Lastly, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate…and people will come from the east and the west and the north and the south and will recline at the table in the kingdom of God. For behold some are last who will be first and some are first who will be last.” Luke 13:24-30
May God’s peace shower the world through softened hearts and wiser minds .