Imagine a husband and wife having a fight. The wife, with a legitimate complaint, says, “I can’t believe you did ___________!” The husband has two choices. He can a) address the issue face up to the complaint or b) distract from the current issue by saying, “Yeah, but you did the same kind of thing to me last year!”
The second response is called deflecting. It’s avoiding dealing with the current issue by pointing fingers at the past. This is what is happening in the religiopolitical conversation taking place between Islam and Christianity. While people are bringing up valid concerns about the behavior of global Islam, it is merely deflecting to say, “Yes, but Christians behaved atrociously a thousand years ago in the Crusades.”
There is an appropriate time and place to address historical Christian behavior (and, for the most part, contemporary Christian leaders have apologized for historical Christian violence). Still, one should not bring up those issues to deflect or diminish the original complaint.
In our world today there is a valid concern about Islamic violence globally against Christians AND non-Christians. (non-violent Muslim-Americans do not negate the violent acts carried out daily by Muslims in other nations).
From a biblical point of view, we are called to pray for those who persecute us. We are called to do good for those who would do us harm. There is an incredible notion that we love even the people who loathe us. In the conversation about Islam we too often lose sight of this ethic. I believe it is possible to love and pray for those who would do us harm while still speaking the truth.
And the truth is, it is not the Church that has people fearing for life and limb. For the last thousand years that role has been taken up by global Islam.
We can drop the angry rhetoric. I don’t think it’s loving or Christ-like. We don’t have to hurl insults at Muslims. We ought be keeping ourselves in check and asking, “How can I speak truth about the world while still maintaining a loving outlook towards everyone?”
That’s the Christian way.Follow @chrislinzey
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