But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful. Luke 6:35-36
I confess it. At the airport, I was eavesdropping on a conversation between two teen-agers. I was pleased to hear one of them say, “I really love my pastor, my church, and my youth group.” The other replied, “I like my church, too. But when you get down to it, aren’t all religions a different way of worshiping the same God?”
I suppose that’s a strange way of leading to the theme of this devotion. Last week, in London, a man was found guilty of killing his 20-year-old daughter. The father, along with his brother and two other suspects who have fled the country, used a boot lace to strangle the girl, stuffed her body in a suitcase, and buried her in the garden.
They said their action was an “honor killing” made necessary because the girl had ended an abusive marriage, become too westernized, and fallen in love with a man who hadn’t come from their village in Iraq. Now, I know that there are those who will say, “Not every Christian home is paradise.” I agree. But right now in England, there are 100 similar homicides that are also being investigated as “honor killings.” One hundred. It’s part of a rise in Islamic fundamentalism around the world, particularly in Britain, where some Muslim communities practice Sharia, or strict Islamic law.
Do we worship the same God? While it is true Christianity believes parents have a responsibility to their children, and children owe respect to parents, I find nothing in Jesus’ words that would encourage “honor killings.” Indeed, as I read that article, I give thanks that my heavenly Father has decided to save me, rather than striking me down for the sins I commit daily. I rejoice that He has decided to redeem me, rather than send me to hell for all that I have done wrong.
Do we worship the same God? I am not an expert on comparative religions, but I have never seen any other faith produce a Savior who said, “But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return, and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, for he is kind to the ungrateful and the evil. Be merciful, even as your Father is merciful.” No other religion has a Redeemer who didn’t just say good words, but lived those words, even to death on a cross.
This is why I am thankful for the God I’ve got. I rejoice in my risen Savior.
THE PRAYER: Dear Lord, I am most thankful that You have shown mercy to this world. You have chosen to redeem us and forgive us, rather than striking us down when we embarrass You, sin against You, or dishonor You. Help me live a life of glad service for my Savior who has, with His death and resurrection, shown just how far Your mercy will go. In His name, Amen.