Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Ripple Effect Reaches Across the Globe

As we prepared to leave at 5am this morning for the village, one of our team members handed me a copy of a national Indian newspaper. Emblazoned in bold print was the following headline:

"US Koran Burnings Spark Violence in the (Kashmiri) Valley"
There are so many things that came to mind as I read that headline. Here are the ones that burn hot in me.
  1. Why do some American Christians feel so proud of themselves for trading THE mission of helping others to see the truth of Christ for thumping their chests and thumbing their noses at those who don't believe in Jesus by doing things that just scream "I'm right"? Mind you, I'm convinced we are right about Jesus being the way and Islam not being the way, but is it my job to go around instigating a fight? Or is it my job to speak the truth in love? If people are offended by the Gospel, there's nothing I can do about that. But if they are kept from the Gospel because of my being arrogant, belligerent, or provocative, then their blood is on my hands before God.
  2. Though it was truly a stupid thing for this pastor in Florida to threaten or hold a Koran burning and for others to copy the idea, was it really news worthy to report it? This is another example of the media making a story rather than reporting one. Shouldn't the media bare responsibility for knowing when it is wise or not wise to report something? Trust me, I believe in freedom of the press. I just don't think freedom has to preclude wisdom. The news media made a Mt. Everest out of a pimple.
  3. Since I believe the Pastor bears the first responsibility in the whole matter, let me go back to him for all of our benefit. He should have considered that the smallest of actions, taken up by the enemy of God (Satan), can create huge ripple effects. If he had taken the time to think of the doors his actions would close for Gospel witness, would he have done it? I hope not. But he didn't think. We often suffer with this disease of underestimating the effects of small decisions and actions and/or of not thinking things through before we do them.
I am quite literally on the other side of the globe from the eastern US state of Florida. I am immersed among a billion people whose language I do not speak and most of whom do not understand English. Most importantly, it is a nation shrouded in spiritual darkness and whose people worship the millions of Hindu gods, the god of Islam, etc. and have not for the most part heard of the truth Himself, the one true God and savior of all people everywhere, Jesus Christ. This morning at 5am I found that many of them have been pushed a step farther from, not closer to the Gospel. By the actions of an obscure man on the other side of the globe whose name they do not know, whose language they don't understand and whose God they have not met, they have been offended--not by the Gospel, but by one who claims to represent it. We need to get clear on what our mission is, think about how best to carry it out, and consider our actions carefully before we open our mouths. Our earthly actions are meddling with eternity.

1 comment:

Eric said...

Here's an good article from CT dealing with the same topic... and it even quotes a professor from CIU!

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2010/septemberweb-only/46-51.0.html