03 February 2011 @ 08:11 pm
Perfect Love.  

With it being around Valentines day this word "love" can be heard on the lips of males and females who have certain intentions with a special person in their life. During this time, normally I would begin to feel the dread of a day that unintentionally elevates marriage and those who are couples above those of us who are single. However, before any of that dread set in, God drastically shifted my focus to Him and the following is the result of that.

With all of the political unrest in Egypt and the filtered news coming from that region, many Americans and Christians are unsure whose "side" they should be on but they are concerned about Israel and their safety.

Today, I found this via twitter from a female Muslim protester:

(22 Hours Ago) "A pic I took yesterday of Christians protecting Muslims during their prayers #jan25http://yfrog.com/h02gvclj"

(21 Hours Ago) Bear in mind that this pic was taken a month after z Alexandria bombing where many Christians died in vain. Yet we all stood by each other

(20 Hours Ago, in response to a person who asked how she knew they were Christians) They had cross tattoos (a Coptic tradition) right below their palm, a friend has a close up, i will share soon.

(ETA: Updated Later on 2.4.11) ok, once & for all: I knew they were Copts cause the guy on z left had a cross tattoo below his palm, my friend cried then hugged him.

From other North Americans writing home who are in Egypt, they verify this type of action coming from Christians and some Muslims are in return protecting the Coptic Church while Christians pray.

This is curious to me since our religions are diametrically opposed and frankly as a Western Christian I would be quick to judge that the Muslim offenders deserve anything thrown at them. When I hear of the horrors done to women in the name of this religion, I could quickly "lose my religion"...so what would cause these Christians to stand guard while Muslims prayed?

Perhaps they could be that since these Christians are politically siding with the Mulims in these demonstrations, in political "brotherhood" they are protecting one another. However, this is a society where Christians are persecuted by Muslims --- 21 were killed less than a month ago that went to the Coptic Church in Alexandria.

So knowing this, could any of we as Christians guard Muslims as they prayed or would we try to reason with them why they are worshiping a false god?

Oh, the conviction that seers through my heart by the action of these Christians! What a beautiful picture of love we have received during this confusion. In Scripture, we are commanded by Jesus to love and pray our enemies and those who persecute us: (emphasis mine)

Matthew 5:43-48
"You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect,as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Notice, that we are not commanded to be perfect like the Father through living obediently and by not sinning. We are to be perfect, like the Father, by the way we love our enemies.

So, how did/does the Father love His enemies?

1 John 4:10:-12
In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us.

God did not try to show us love by reasoning with us why His way was better - by His actions He showed it to us. When we were diametrically opposed to Him, He sent Jesus to be our protection, our Savior. While we were whispering empty prayers to our own gods, the Father loved us right where we were. His love did not start when we realized that we were a screwed up mess or that our own way was wrong, His love was there before we knew the evilness of our own hearts and that we wanted to destroy Him and everything He is about.

So the above to me is not a picture of political unrest, worry over the future, but one of love.

Tears of conviction and confession have been shed by me because I have not loved like the Father has loved. I have loved through my own abilities and power which fall short of what God requires of us. Love is not a fuzzy feeling that brings flowers and chocolates, but one that would be willing to give their life for another person. One that like Christ, dares to stop telling people about love and instead uses love as a verb and IS love to others.

I wonder if Christians became so loving that we would earn a similar nickname to that of Barnabas when people thought of him they thought of encouragement.

Can we get back to the place when people think of Christians they think of love?

Is it possible?

Or are we as Western Christians too afraid to die to ourselves and allow the Spirit to live through us?
Current Mood: hopeful
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[identity profile] lupinskitten.livejournal.com on February 4th, 2011 04:14 am (UTC)
I was thinking about Israel today and how much peril it would be in if the radicals gain the upper hand in Egypt; Israel would have another Muslim stronghold on their primary border. Not good. At all. Because many Muslims, as you pointed out, particularly in that part of the world, are all about killing and persecuting Christians. I wish it were not a religion of hatred and intolerance, but it is.

How touching that the Christians in Egypt, or at least some of them, are willing to protect others as they pray. I fear their kindness will not be rewarded in this life, but certainly, so in eternity.

Where Valentine's Day is concerned, my view is -- candy is candy, whether someone gives it to you or you buy it yourself. ;)
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[identity profile] dramaticsuzy.livejournal.com on February 5th, 2011 01:14 am (UTC)
Where Valentine's Day is concerned, my view is -- candy is candy, whether someone gives it to you or you buy it yourself. ;) Yessssssssss.
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[identity profile] modernelegance.livejournal.com on February 11th, 2011 02:58 pm (UTC)
Yes, it's a troublesome time and I am hoping that God will work miracles. It's also touching that the Muslims protected the Christians as well.

Valentines, I'm meh about it this year...mostly because I think since it's because on a Monday most people aren't making a huge deal out of it. I still plan on spending it in my own special way though. :D
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[identity profile] kathrynthegreat.livejournal.com on February 4th, 2011 03:18 pm (UTC)
Thanks for sharing this! :)
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[identity profile] modernelegance.livejournal.com on February 11th, 2011 02:58 pm (UTC)
You're welcome. :)
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[identity profile] chestnutcurls.livejournal.com on February 4th, 2011 03:46 pm (UTC)
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ext_33795[identity profile] katharhino.livejournal.com on February 4th, 2011 06:32 pm (UTC)
Beautiful, beautiful post, Esther. It went right to my heart, too.
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[identity profile] myrna-nora.livejournal.com on February 4th, 2011 10:35 pm (UTC)
Thank you for bringing this to my attention. It's the kind of thing that is unlikely to be highlighted in the news.
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[identity profile] ingenu0us.livejournal.com on February 5th, 2011 12:25 am (UTC)
That's so powerful, Esther — both what's happening in Egypt and your response/challenge. Thank you for sharing.
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[identity profile] dramaticsuzy.livejournal.com on February 5th, 2011 01:14 am (UTC)
Lovely, inspiring post, Esther!
Muslims and Christians alike have been protecting each other in Egypt. Muslims attended a Coptic Christian mass in order to be human shields. As you said above, Christians are doing the same to help protect their Muslim friends. I thought this was a touching video about how Christians are showing love to their Muslim neighbors in the USA: http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2010/09/10/tennessee-church-welcomes-muslim-neighbors.

When I heard about that around the time it happened, I was pretty surprised and I wasn't sure if it was a good thing that they did it, but now I know it was. I can't imagine a greater act of hospitality.

I like what you said about Barnabas (I mean, I love your whole post, but especially that). I really wish I could have met that man!
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[identity profile] hominygrits.livejournal.com on February 5th, 2011 05:26 pm (UTC)
Thank you for sharing this, Esther! Very convicting.
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