Posted on 06-10-2007
Filed Under (Islam) by Liam

These words of Jesus are recorded in Matthew 5:44.  Luke 6:27 records a similar sentiment.

What is the meaning of these words?  Several questions come to mind:

  • Is Jesus speaking metaphorically?
  • Does this simple statement apply in our complex society twenty-one centuries later?
  • Won’t Muslims take ruthless advantage of our meekness?
  • What implications are there for our national defense and those called to serve in the armed forces?

The first question is: What is the meaning?  To understand it fully, the passage should be read in context. It’s found in what is commonly referred to as The Sermon on the Mount, or the Beatitudes:

Matt 5:38-48 (NIV):
38 ”You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’
39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.
40 And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.
41 If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.
42 Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.
43 ”You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’
44 But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,
45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.
46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that?
47 And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?

In these passages, Jesus calls his followers to a higher standard – much higher than what is found in the Pentateuch, or the Law of Moses.  He was not speaking metaphorically.  A principle of Biblical interpretation is that the words should be taken at their face value unless the context would dictate otherwise.

Do these passages apply to modern believers?  The answer is yes.  Jesus did not equivocate in his message; therefore it applies to all believers, in all ages.  Notice that he refers to evil as well as unrighteous people.  The implication is that we cannot water down the word ‘enemy’ to be merely those with whom we disagree, or those who irritate us.  Instead, we are clearly commanded to love evil and unrighteous people.  In the following verses, Jesus’ disciples observed, “This is a hard teaching.  Who can accept it?” 

To answer their question, I want to share an example that is pretty extreme. Here is the testimony of Mark A. Gabriel, who I have referred to in previous blog posts.  At the age of twelve, he had completed the memorization of the Qur’an (about the same length as our New Testament).  He went on to receive a PhD from, and was a professor at, Al-Ahzer University in Cairo, Egypt.  It is the most prestigious university in the world of Islam.  When he began to have doubts about the Qur’an, he was given a Bible by a friend.  It was the first time he’d ever held a Christian Bible; he was thirty-five years old.  He didn’t know where to start reading.   The pages fell open to the same passages of Matthew quoted above.  His testimony is inspiring:

“As I kept reading, I forgot that I was in my house.  I could not feel anything around me.  I lost the feeling of time.  The Bible took me from story to story through the Book of Matthew.

“My brain started working like a computer.  In the book on the desk in front of me I saw the picture of Jesus.  In my brain I saw the picture of Muhammad.  My brain never stopped bringing up the comparisons.  I was so full of the Quran and the life of Muhammad that I made no effort to call these things up to my memory.  They were just there.

“I read the Bible with no awareness of time until I heard the call for morning prayer from the mosque.

“Here I was, a scholar who had spent thirty years studying Islam and the life of Muhammad.  I didn’t just practice Islam; I had it memorized.  Now I had a Bible in front of me that was introducing me to Jesus.

“I didn’t have someone next to me saying, ‘This is what the Bible means.’ I just read what it said for myself.  I didn’t need someone to tell me, ‘This is what Muhammad said or did.’ I had it memorized from the original sources…

“I looked in surprise at the clock beside my bed – it was 4 a.m. already… at 7.a.m. I was ready to make my decision.  I had found the almighty God of heaven that I had been seeking.  With no doubt left in my mind, I prayed to the God of the Bible and pledged my life to him.”

So the answer to the disciples’ question is that anyone can accept it, even the most fervent Muslim.  After all, the Gospel is sharper than any two-edged scimitar.

I have one of the secular characters in my book warn, “The meek will surely not inherit the earth.  Turning the other cheek only makes it easier for them [Muslim terrorists] to behead you.” Although the attitude of this character is pretty strident, it communicates a real possibility.  Muslims may take advantage of our meekness, but this possibility exists whenever ministering to anyone to whom Christ would lead us. We are to be faithful in our outreach and trust the Lord to change hearts. 

As the Lord implied in the passages above, a Christ-like attitude is something the world cannot understand, but is our most effective witness to them. In the night before his betrayal, he told his disciples that the world would believe in Him based upon the love they demonstrated. This is also true in our outreach to Muslims.

If we’re to love our enemies on a personal level, what about national defense and serving in the military?  

The Scriptures teach that the Lord established three institutions: the family, the temple/church and civil government. The Old Testament delineates the government’s responsibility to deter evil from within and to repel attacks against its sovereignty from without.  This role is pointedly affirmed in Romans 13.  Further, Jesus himself commanded us to ”give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s.” This is a reference to our ‘dual citizenship;’ our obligation to give appropriate loyalty to both God and country.  In this regard, I believe it is permissible for believers to serve in the military, even if it requires facing the enemy in battle. I have two sons in the United States Navy, both graduates of the Naval Academy. They are strong in their faith, yet fierce in their determination to fight for the best of what our country stands for. This can be a challenge since the Navy, like our government is secular. Politics often influence policies, which are often in conflict with Biblical objectives.

So we face a dichotomy: To love and reach out to Muslims on a personal level, but to take a firm stand against Islam corporately on every front. We dare not equivocate because Islam represents the most devastating threat to civilization in history and will remain so until the Lord comes again.

We must understand that Islam is unique among the great religions. But it is more than a religion. At its core, it is a theocracy. Religion, government and the very fabric of Muslim culture are a single entity. Islam mandates that all people be subject to Allah and it is intolerable when Muslims are subject to an ungodly government – which is defined as any form of government other than Shari’a. Pointedly, Islam means “submission.” Toward this end, the Qur’an commands Muslims to bring about worldwide subjugation. But don’t be confused – this is not a parallel to Jesus’ mandate to go “…unto the ends of the earth, making disciples and teaching them…”  The Qur’an’s historical methodology – beginning with Muhammad himself – has been via the scimitar.

What about Muslims who eschew violence; who follow Muhammad’s Meccan teachings (which were conciliatory toward other belief systems)?  It should be noted that those teachings were established early in his career, before he gained political dominance and established a military that was bent on conquest.  Muslims who embrace a peaceful expansion of Islam have been immigrating into Western nations at a furious pace (Refer to these blog postings for more information: The New Dark Ages: A Long Eurabian Night and
The Movie Fitna). As stated above, Jesus commands us to love these immigrants as our new neighbors, but the governments of Europe have to explore their ultimate objective. Is it to live peacefully in a pluralistic culture?

Western Europe may soon find out. Muslims now account for two thirds of the births in the democracies of Europe. In many places, they are the largest political block and are more motivated to get out the vote than the ethnic citizens of these culturally-exhausted nations. 

The terrorist attacks that occurred two days prior to the Spanish elections were a strategic prequel of what may unfold in the next decade. The self-immolating Spaniards voted down the old regime – the one that took a strong stand against Islamic fascism. Within a few years, Spain could be the first Western nation to find itself under Shari’a law, which would be an ironic reversal.  Spain had been nominally Christian until the decline of the Roman Empire. It was later overrun by Muslims from north Africa.  Then Ferdinand & Isabelle finally drove them out of the Iberian peninsula in the same year they commissioned Columbus.

It remains to be seen whether the imposition of Shari’a law will be benign or oppressive. Since Saudi Arabia is funding the mosque-building in western countries, we should anticipate a Wahabbi-centric brand of Islam, the most virulent and oppressive to be found.

To restate the dichotomy, Islam can be viewed either as an opportunity or a threat. If we see it as an opportunity to reach those who desperately need the Gospel message, then Muslims may be won over, but it will be one soul at a time.  If we shirk this opportunity, we will surely face the threat of Shari’a law as it is inexorably imposed. Unfortunately, the collective political and military will of the West doesn’t seem ready to stand against it.  They are intimidated by Islam and resort to unblushing appeasement. 

The focus seems to be on the peaceful surahs found in the Qur’an and the assurance that the majority of Muslims follow these verses. As noted above, Muhammad revealed these verses early in his political career, when he was forced to be peaceful. Little mention is made of the fact that these verses were later abrogated and replaced by the verses that instruct Muslims to take the world by force. Any shadow of doubt is dispelled by the harsh light of history: The 1,400 year advance of Islam has left a trail of blood.

Those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to be consumed by it. This is a hard teaching – who can accept it?

Other blog entries you may find interesting:

The New Dark Ages: A Long Eurabian Night
Hand-Wringing Diplomacy: Mideast Peace is an Impossible Goal
Islam: What the West Needs to Know
A Woman’s Place in Islam
Islamic Law Requires Breast Feeding of Male Co-workers
What is the Qur’an? Archaeological Find Invalidates Islam’s Holy Book
Love Your Enemies and Pray For Those Who Persecute You
Madrassah Schools: Why They Pose a Threat to Western Civilization
Violence in the Bible: 1st Response to a Muslim
Validity of Scripture: 2nd Response Presents The Bible as Superior to the Qur’an
The Historic Alliance of Christianity and Science
DNA and the Flood: The Biblical Account is Written in Our Genetic Code
Jihad.com: Islamofascists Are Recruiting Via the Internet
A Brief History of Islam
Submission: The Movie That Led a Muslim to Assassinate Theo Van Gogh
Honoring America’s Fallen Warriors
Profile of A Reluctant Hero: Why Christians Should Defend Themselves
The Enlightenment of Atheism





Comments

mohamed yaffa on 28 January, 2008 at 7:50 am #

you should ask your leasers about ” Love your enemy”. Oncee you get to the bottom of the understanidng of why US spends 500,000,000.00 (five hundred billion new dollars) every year, ultimately to kill people, then you qualify to preach to other people. The West is occupying many Muslim nations. I wonder who is taking advangtage of whose meakness. .


admin on 29 January, 2008 at 6:48 am #

Mohamed:

I believe you meant leaders. Although I don’t always agree with policy & military implementation by my government, you must admit that the US military is the least oppressive in world history. We are guided by principles that restrain the wanton pillage, rape and other spoils of war that have been the norm. Further, we are not bent on conquest and killing as you claim.

There have been isolated incidents of atrocities and civilian casualties. Those are shameful and tragic. Responsible parties are usually brought to justice.

The U.S. is not taking advantage of Muslim meakness. We intervened in the Bosnian crisis to save Muslims from genocide. We sent billions in aid to Muslim countries that were devastated by the tsunami. We attempted to stop the warlords from slaughtering innocents in Somalia. There are many other examples.

I also support my government’s efforts to stop militant Islam. It is the greatest threat to civilization and needs to be dealt with harshly.

At the personal level, Christians need to and pray for Muslims. They are caught in the most oppressive religion the world has ever seen. We need to lovingly extend the grace of our Savior, Jesus Christ and pray that the veil will be lifted.


Cecilia Graham on 13 April, 2008 at 12:05 am #

Let me make a few comments:
It is appalling to hear such elitist claims when the real truth is only skin-deep. You intervened in the Balkans to finish communism after the fall of the USSR. Ziyad Barri of Somalia was a remnant of communism, and you sponsored groups to destroy him, just like in Ethiopia with Mongistu. You have no muscle in your system that has he capacity to bleed for anyone who does not dance to the tunes of your imperial ambitions. That is the sole problem of the world today. It is important to remember that in all of the conflicts, thousands of people were killed by the undisciplined imperial army, under their noses or by their design. Think of Abu Grebe and Guantanamo and Israeli dungeons, blockades, uprooting of people’s livelihood and waging an illegal war against the people of Iraq, not forgetting that Sadam was a former puppet who comitted all his major crimes with the help of the US and So did General Noriega. If we can not see these things for what they are, which are militancy, state terrorism, genocide and abuse of power, we are good for nothing. As one African singer puts it, it is democratoship (when you have to force you understanding of civilization on others under the banner of democracy). There is lack of sincerity here from the writer, or massive ignorance. The so called aid, except when it comes from the people some times, is all politically and economically motivated, and if you have the least respect for Christianity, which I don’t believe you represent, just like I don’t believe your leaders do, you should stop this “holier than thou” approach. May be we should all take our brooms and sweep around our houses a little, and nothing will make it successful more than if you start, big brother. If $500,000,000.00 is spent on killing yearly, why aren’t you saying any thign about that?


admin on 13 April, 2008 at 7:18 am #

Cecilia:

As I note in my blog, government policies are not perfect. There are many I disagree with. As imperfect as it is, the United States still is the most beneficent world power in history. Yes, our foreign aid comes with strings attached to the trillions of dollars we give. Yes, our military is sometimes heavy-handed. But unlike any would-be empires of the past, we are not bent on conquest. We seek the liberation of people and celebrate their inalienable human rights. Their rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

We happen to believe that democracy and capitalism are the most effective means to promote liberty. But to be most effective, they must be restrained by cultural mores. These mores find their roots in the person of Jesus Christ. Christianity has defined the moral impulse of American society because it is the only world view that has a proper understanding of the evil men are capable of. But I am quick to acknowledge that our system isn’t perfect. Nothing short of heaven will be. We just believe it is the best thing going. Certainly better than any alternative that has been tried in human experience.

Your response to my posting consisted of a litany of complaints against American “imperialism.” Based upon your intensity, I doubt that I will be able to convince you otherwise. Whatever happened to you personally to create such animosity, I truly regret. I will pray that you will be able to overcome it and reconsider the points I have made.

In our Lord,
Liam Roberts


carrie on 30 June, 2008 at 3:07 pm #

I agree that I have lived egypt and I wish he would move on. I have suffered against the same people all of my life. they have stolen and lied about me always. they brought it upon themselves and why am I to pay for their stealing from my mother and lying to her? no, they bring allegations against me and were part of the deception. they never gave me copies of what I was basically forced to sign. now i want out. they wont let me go. my brother put me into this dangerous situation when I was only 14. he did it to get money that he wasn’t left.


denis Leger on 19 January, 2009 at 9:09 am #

Your givernment’s policies are not only “not perfect”, they are the roots of the majority of problems in the owrld. Don’t blame organizational terrorism when state terrorism is far more devastating. Just look at Zionist Israel and the REAL HOLOCAUST of our time against Palestinians and the role of your government in that, Mr. Preacher. I agree with Celilia, take the broom and start with your front yard.


admin on 12 April, 2009 at 10:56 am #

I am not sure what you are talking about…


skagz on 23 April, 2009 at 8:54 pm #

oh really? But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them—bring them here and KILL them in front of me(Jesus). Luke 19:27 ;I am come to send FIRE on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled? Suppose ye that I am come to give PEACE on earth? I tell you, NAY; but rather DIVISION. Luke 12:49 & 51 I WILL KILL HER CHILDREN WITH DEATH ; and all the churches shall know that I am he which searcheth the reigns and hearts: … Rev 2:23 LOVE YOUR ENEMY HUH? I think it is just metamorphic, Jesus is not a fool to teach you unrealistic things.


Piracy on the High Seas | on 16 May, 2009 at 8:49 am #

[...] Male Co-workers What is the Qur’an? Archaeological Find Invalidates Islam’s Holy Book Love Your Enemies and Pray For Those Who Persecute You Madrassah Schools: Why They Pose a Threat to Western Civilization Violence in the Bible: 1st [...]


The Demographic Winter | on 16 May, 2009 at 10:11 am #

[...] Male Co-workers What is the Qur’an? Archaeological Find Invalidates Islam’s Holy Book Love Your Enemies and Pray For Those Who Persecute You Madrassah Schools: Why They Pose a Threat to Western Civilization Violence in the Bible: 1st [...]


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