As I’m sure most of you have heard, a pastor in Gainesville, Fla. is planning to burn the Koran in rememberance of the events of September 11th. As a Christian, I was mortified and deeply disappointed at his actions. I could see no positive purpose whatsoever to this pastor’s actions nor find any Biblical principles to back them. The Bible teaches us that as Christians, even as we stand up for our beliefs, we should do so in gentleness and respect.
1 Peter 3:15-16 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. NIV
There is an occasion in the Bible where Jesus is heading to Jerusalem with His disciples. They must pass through a region with a certain ethnic group called the Samaritans. Deep hostilities existed between Jews and Samaritans because of ethnic and religious differences. Jesus and His disciples were Jews, and as a result, they were not welcomed by some of the Samaritans. Jesus’ disciples, in their anger, asked Jesus if they could call down fire from heaven to destroy them! What was Jesus’ response? He rebuked them. Told them they had a spirit that was not like His. Jesus said he came to save men’s lives, not destroy them (see Luke 9:51-56 NAS).
I can relate to Jesus’ disciples. There are moments in my life that I’ve reacted to situations, not in the spirit that Christ would, but as my own passions dictated, realizing my error later. Those moments have challenged me to live out God’s teaching with His understanding in mind. Proverbs 2:6 says, “For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding”
Wisdom helps us know what to do with what we know, how to apply truth. Wisdom and understanding help with the application of knowledge. All three come from Christ.
The Bible says in James 3:17-18 “…wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace raise a harvest of righteousness.”
The wisdom of God, as it produces correct application of God’s truths, is pure, peaceloving, considerate, full of mercy and good fruit, all for a righteous outcome.
If you are a Christ-follower, consider the following questions:
“How do my motivations, words and behaviors line up with James 3:17-18 & 1 Peter 3:15-16?
“Am I seeking to know Christ better? To know His Word and His heart? To have His character formed in me?”
Many times in my own Christian walk, my behaviors have not passed the James 3:17 & 1 Peter 3 test! And I’ve had to make some changes. I have felt Jesus’ rebuke and I’m glad. In the end, I want people to know the hope that is in Christ, the abundant life Jesus has to offer everyone. I want my life to reflect that.
Does burning the Koran pass the test? I don’t believe so.
THANK YOU for this article! When I heard about this situation I was so sad. This is a great response to any challenging situation we may face in our lives!