Over the past 7 years, I have lived in Spain and traveled to places like Egypt, North India and Rosengard, Sweden. All places known to have large populations of muslims. I had no idea what muslims believed, so when I knew I would be spending a few months in Rosengard, Sweden, an immigrant/refuge suburb of Malmö, Sweden, I decided to do some reading and research.
My American view of muslims was full of fear from the news and past events but my first friendships with muslims changed everything. You can read about some of the friendships here on this blog post written about the same time we filmed The One Who Shows Mercy. I was shown so much grace and kindness that went in the face of the news and my own prejudices.
I’ve continued to read about Islam and have friendships with muslims. It has challenged me in my own faith and how I live it out.
As I’ve spent more time in America, I have been shocked at the hate and prejudice even amongst Christians in the name of good reason and protecting our country. Any country will try to protect itself from invasion; that is a given and we Americans have 1000’s of opinions about that. I feel however the protection of our country has turned into the demonizing of 1.6 billion people on this earth labeled generally as muslims and generally looking a certain way (although in reality that couldn’t be further from the truth.). I see fear come over people’s faces as they talk about the “terrorists” coming into our country.
Then I read The Good Samaritan passage. I felt it was an amazing reminder of the call of Jesus to humanity and especially to Christians (“Little Christs”) to love radically across “enemy lines”. I saw that in actuality this is the Gospel message. If we miss this, we miss the heart of God. God loves his enemies.
For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. Romans 5:10
This is the message that is repeated over and over in the Bible. God calling his enemies back, they rebel, he calls them back, they rebel, God sends his son, they rebel, God sends his spirit, they rebel. Essentially, God loving and showing grace to those who hate him and who should be his enemies over and over. This is God, this is Jesus, this is Spirit.
The Good Samaritan parable was shocking in many ways, making an enemy of his audience the hero of the story and the heros of his audience, the enemies. What a fun story to try and retell. The one who shows mercy was my friends and my attempt to tell it freshly and still bring about challenge in our hearts.
May we love radically across enemy lines and bear the image of our creator, in Jesus’ name, amen.