Monday, April 4, 2011

Denying Love

I’m not sure which saddens me the most, Terry Jones, or the Afghans who killed a score of innocent people in reprisals against Jones’ Koran burning. You can read the story at

We may well recognize the reason for the anger, but provocation never justifies irresponsible reactions. Yet it is often deemed legitimate. Here’s one man’s excuse: "I took part in the demonstration to curse the foreigners but I had no weapon. But I don't feel sorry for UN workers killed; our people are slaughtered by foreigners everyday."

I recall a less lethal comparison. A father, angry with his small son, took his anger out on a nearby chair and smashed it. Then he said to his son, “Now, look what you made me do.” The boy’s behaviour probably caused his father’s anger, but not the broken chair.

We are all responsible for our re-actions as well as our actions, including those brutal Afghans. Not only them, but the whole terrorist plague, ostensibly justified by the actions of others. I recall God’s word: “It is mine to avenge, I will repay” (Romans 12:19, quoting Deuteronomy 32:35).

He who calls on God to avenge him, denies himself the right of vengeance. That’s why Christians are called to weather the gravest provocations without recourse to violence. Which brings us to the crusading Mr. Jones, who blamed his action on his understanding of the Koran’s content.

He claims that the Muslim reaction proves that the Koran incites violence. Certainly, the reaction to the burning was likely after recent demonstrations against the cartoon of Mohammed, and Jones’ response shows he expected it. Thus, his action deliberately engineered the Muslim reaction. While not directly responsible, he must shoulder some blame for the resulting deaths.

Whether the Koran incites violence is really beside the point. Like the Bible, there are sufficient interpretations out there to justify various lifestyles—good and bad. Our personal experience with many Muslim families indicates we cannot paint all Muslims with the same brush. But for the Christian, Jones’ actions are invalid on the very basis of our faith.

God demonstrated His love for us in this: Christ died for us while we were still sinners (Romans 5:8). If we are conformed to His image and the likeness of His Son, we will also love our enemies. Jones failed to show that reflection of God’s love for Muslims, by burning their most treasured possession, however he felt about its value.

1 comment:

Chloe Collin said...

Good thoughts, as usual, Bryan. God, give us wisdom to live and love as You do, showing people Your truth through our lives, revelling in the liberating grace of the Gospel!