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Faithful Muslims talking with Faithful Christians

Jesus called us to love our neighbors as the central part of our witness. He said, “If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Aren’t even the tax collectors and pagans doing that? But love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you then you will be sons of your father in heaven.” Jesus lived it when he ate with sinners, talked with the Samaritan woman and told the Roman centurion that he had more faith than any of the Jews Jesus had met including church leaders and priests.

Mindanao is calling for followers of Jesus who are willing to break the same barriers that Jesus broke when he loved indiscriminately. We need to be men and women who will reach out to the oppressed Muslims, Christians and Lumads (Indigenous People) in our communities as neighbors. We can only really reach them through loving genuine concerne for their well-being. This was Jesus example with the outcasts of his time.

Mindanao also need faithful Muslims from the poorest areas of Mindanao to struggle and strive to bring the love and peace of Allah to the violent oppressors hovering over them.I have often questioned the meaning of the freedom of Christ. Jesus has given us freedom but how does this apply to this context? It means that we now have freedom to see all people equal under God rather than “in” and who is “out” as our culture tells us?

The Mennonites in Canada did an amazing thing during WW2 by standing up to the Canadian government as conscientious objectors. Their message: We are followers of Jesus before followers of the state.

Siegfried Bartel, a former German army captain who returned to a pacifist stance in faithfulness to Christ, encapsulated the message of the conscientious objector’s when he said,“What right does the state have to tell me who my enemy is?”

We ask ourselves the same question when our faithfulness to Christ is confronted by our culture. What right does my culture have to tell me who I should love and who I shouldn’t? My creator showed that he loves all people equally.

I think that freedom is the spiritual, emotional, and physical peace of Christ in our lives and the lives of the people we know. How will I live that freedom so that it is attractive to the world and is relevant to its needs? I believe this is the question that the North American church must answer to have a relevant impact on the people of my generation.

The truth will only set the world free bit by bit if followers of Christ have the courage to live in the freedom we have been given to love.