As a born-and-bred American, I love my country. I am broken and grieved over much of what we have become and are becoming, but I’m still a proud and grateful American.
I am also a devout Christian. It’s not simply what I do – it’s who I am. I am absolutely convinced that Jesus is my only hope of salvation and I am trusting in Him and His finished work on the cross to make me right in God’s eyes, to enable me to live this one life He’s given to me, and to arrive at my Heavenly home one day.
Well, as an American, our media often makes us aware of the Iranian regime. I was a young boy when the horrific Iranian hostage crisis played out (1979-1981). Ever since then, I have continued to hear of the Iranian leadership’s threats against Israel, America, and the general stability of the world powers. So, I’ve never been a fan of Iran.
As a Christian, convinced that Jesus is the only way to the Father, I hold all other religions to be false. This includes the Muslim religion.
With my feelings as an American toward Iran, and as a Christian toward Islam, I can certainly say that I felt justifiably prejudiced. To remedy that prejudice, God has brought a very precious Iranian Muslim college student into our family. We have essentially adopted her during her college years. Honestly, we kind of feel like her American family.
We have certainly shared the Gospel with her. I pray that she eventually receives Jesus as her Lord and Savior. But, Christianity (properly understood) is NEVER forced on someone. It is a decision that someone must willingly make on their own in response to a God who loves them enough that He sent His Son to die as payment for their sins.
In the meanwhile, we are simply enjoying relationship. Our home is open to her as she is is about 7,000 miles from her home country.
Last night, Kim invited her over for a Persian meal. Kim has never cooked a Persian meal and so she and our adopted college student cooked it together. While eating, she told us that the meal Kim had picked was one that Iranians typically reserved for special occasions. And, then she informed us that we were eating it on Iran’s New Year’s Day (something we didn’t realize). God certainly orchestrated it.
Christian friend, there are some very important points that have been driven home to my heart as we have enjoyed relationship with our adopted Iranian Muslim college student:
- Regardless of nationality, skin color, language, food preference, … red, yellow, black, or white, they’re all precious in His sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world.
- People are people. We all have the same general desires, fears, anxieties, and hopes. We are much more alike than we are different. So, get rid of the us/them mentality and simply get to know others who are different than you. You may find that you really like them.
- The Gospel is the only way to a right relationship with the Father so we need to share it. But, some will pay a much higher price for following Jesus than others.
- The Gospel should never, ever be forced upon anyone. We should tell them of what Jesus has done for them … and then pray that they come to a saving knowledge of Jesus.
- Let your love for others be real. As much as you want them to believe the Gospel, don’t let your love for them be contingent upon their accepting of the Gospel. As you pray that they would receive the Gospel, continue to love them even if they delay or even reject it. A Christlike love is never conditional.
- Living out your faith in a serious, compassionate way is powerful. You can speak truth all you want but until you live it and care about people, they aren’t going to listen. You might have the truth but you don’t have credibility to speak it.
Friend, commit to serving the Lord and open yourself up to whatever, or whoever, He sends your way. Most certainly, the life of following Jesus will almost always be an adventure.
Finally, I want to share a video about Iran from “Voice of the Martyrs.” If you want to listen to an exciting 25 minute radio broadcast about how Christianity is growing in Iran, just click the play button below. People are coming to faith in Jesus, discovering a love, forgiveness, purpose, and freedom that they cannot find within their own religion.