Called to love – not judge

September 15, 2008

by Pastor Lee Hallstrom, Light of Christ Lutheran Church, Delano

Many of us will never forget what happened seven years ago – Sept. 11, 2001.

With another anniversary of this grievous atrocity, we remember those who lost their lives and those who gave their lives to rescue others. May our prayers continue to go to God for their families and friends as they seek to journey on with life.

I find myself concerned that since that day, some Americans and others have used too broad a brush to paint all Muslims as terrorists or Christ-haters. Is this what God desires?

In chapter 22 of Matthew’s gospel, Jesus says that the first and greatest commandment is to love – love God and love each other.

Muslims aren’t Christians. But according to their holy book, called the Koran, they do believe that Jesus is the author of creation, lived a sinless life, performed many miracles, ascended into heaven, and will come again.

The Muslim mystic, Ibn al-Arabi said this of Jesus: “He is the living being, without beginning, without end. He is the Word, discriminating and integrating. He is to the world the ring stone of the ring. The plane of inscription, the sign by which the king deals his coffer.”

These may be different than our words to describe Jesus, but they are a pretty accurate description of the Jesus we know – Jesus as the Word, the Spirit, and “God tongue.”

In chapter 16 of Matthew’s gospel, Jesus asks his disciples, “Who do you say that I am?” With the disciple Peter, we answer, “You are the Christ, the son of the living God.” But this confession of faith is no warrant for us to judge or condemn the beliefs or nonbeliefs of others.

We are called in Jesus’ name to love – to love God and be God’s love to others. We are to be Christ’s love and light wherever we go and to whomever we meet, and leave the judgment of their salvation in the hands of God.

May Almighty God help us to be slow to condemn and even slower to judge.