Wednesday, January 13, 2010
What shall we do then?
People are expecting us to have a response: naturally, a defense or even (gasp) a retaliatory one.
Some of us, though taught to forgive as we have been forgiven, will harbour, as minimal as it may be, some outrage and feelings of being violated.
Prominent Malaysian Christian voices rose to defend our rights, and condemn those who seem to challenge our 'rights'.
My first response, from a highly uninformed point of view was: "What is all this talk about our rights? I thought we surrendered our rights to God a long time ago. Somebody teach me."
As I started to read and understand about the whole deal in the usage of the word "Allah", no doubt, there are some pretty good claims to it, as we as those against it. But it still troubled me that we are so instinctively defensive, while Jesus would always come up with a totally unexpected response in times when he was accused and discredited. Going back to the gospels, its clear that what God expects of us is not what the natural man would do, but he expects so much more - turning the other cheek, carry another weight for another mile, giving up your rights!
In our house church last Saturday, one of us noted: many times we Christians have tried to be smart and give educated responses in terms of how incidents like this will affect our economy, sociology, human rights, language, etc. But maybe God wills us to be blatantly Christian; that is, to forgive unhesitatingly, turning our cheek the other way, and be peaceable with our neighbours. (I will not say enemies, for our Muslim brothers and sisters mean more to us than the Roman oppressors of the Jews two thousand years ago.)
It is heartbreaking to see the incidents unfold on television, not because of the damaged caused to buildings made of stone, but that God's children are involved in such a strife over a word (I'm not disregarding its significance, but it is, just a word). And also that (some of) God's children would give responses so far away from the mark Jesus has set. "We should be worried about our safety." "Our church building is in danger." "This is Malaysia." "I might consider migrating." "I'm insulted."
God's heart is breaking, we know it. And we cannot put further weight on the tense situation, but neither we should take it lightly as not to extend forgiveness. And as one sister noted, let's not forgive because we are in the right, and not to earn Brownies points, but it is God's redemptive character to forgive and for us to move on for the glory of His Kingdom.
Isn't God awesome? Be blessed even as you read this.