Jesus is the gift from heaven to all, from the cruelest to the most oppressed, to sad and happy people, to become kind and have peace with each other. He Himself said that He came to preach the acceptable year of the Lord (Luke 4:19), the year in which people graciously receive each other for a harmonious and united life.
2014 turned out to become one of those years at war with conscience and with the excellence of God who aims to crown humanity with freedom and peace. It became one of those hostile years that repeated Islamic history by sanctioning enslavement, barbaric beheading and crucifixion. (Quran 5:33) The petro-dollar made Islamists more outrageous in massacring helpless people who did not want to live their way or were hesitant to join their religion.
What can stop these blood-thirsty people for a moment to consider the fact that compulsion keeps communities from being productive? Who can help them to understand that brains stop working in a terrorist atmosphere and societies fall if brains do not function properly? Who can help them to grasp the value of a modest leadership style that leads people in harmony in order to be creative and prosperous in every aspect of life? Who can wake them up to see that Muslim nations never had a sincere and peaceful relationship with each other in the past 1400 years of Islamic history because of Islam’s tyrannical leadership style? Who can raise their consciences to understand that if Islam hasn’t been able to produce an ideal peaceful community in the past 1400 years, it won’t be able after this too since the fundamental problem is at the root of Islam?
All ex-Muslim followers of Jesus Christ, like other followers of Jesus, have the response to these questions: “No one but Jesus Christ”. A part of my mission in my recent trip to Finland was to meet with some Muslims and ex-Muslims from Afghanistan. I listened to the following comments of an Afghan young Muslim mother of two who was talking about a Finish Christian lady. She burst into tears saying, “Who is this lady? I have not seen a glimpse of her love and kindness from the god of Islam, in the entire Quran, from my own mother, brothers and sisters and nowhere in Afghanistan. The love and kindness in her are bigger than oceans and have brought my knees down in front of Jesus. I proudly confess that Jesus is the God of love and peace. Afghanistan and the entire Islamic world need to bow down to Jesus in order to be able to have peace and comfort.
True harmony, peace and comfort do not take place in our lives and relationships unless our hearts are full of absolute love. This love comes from Jesus Christ. Even the loveliest person of the world is not able to guarantee our comfort and peace because of his/her limited capacity against difficulties, either internal or external. That’s why many world leaders, even though some with good intention, are unable to establish peace in the world.
The peace the world offers is a momentary one which fades away when troubles raise their heads. It is a peace that does not give rest to the human soul; it does not keep conscience alive; it does not take away disrespectful attitudes from people; it is unable to truly reconcile people to one another. The human soul is permanent and needs long-lasting peace and harmony. Christ is the One who inspires permanent peace and rids hearts and minds of the tendency for authoritarianism, segregation and sectarianism.
Christ loves and cares unconditionally. His love and care are against any law, ritual or custom that are the causes of discrimination and segregation. True love and care must be for the advantage of others. Your love towards a person must be for the advantage of that person but not for your own advantage. The care and love in Islam are for its own advantage. It offers care and love as long as its customs and rituals, which stir up favoritism and hostility, are kept with respect.
Christ, on the contrary, came to abolish such laws, rituals and customs in order to unite people from every nation, race and language group. His Gospel says:
There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise (Galatians 3:28-29).He gave up His right and life so that others could have life, walk free with abundant comfort and peace. The world needs Christ who has the heart and mind of God and is able to carry out the heavenly mandate for a true and peaceful relationship. He loves everyone to come to the knowledge of His truth and into an intimate relationship with Him in order to have peace with others. The world has failed to carry out such an intimacy in relationships. If there were a little hope for the world to establish a true peace, it would not be necessary for God to pay a great price for it. As the Gospel says:
For God so loved the world that He gave His only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16), And through Him having made peace through the blood of His cross, it pleased the Father to reconcile all things to Himself through Him, whether the things on earth or the things in Heaven. (Colossians 1:20)Worldly people and beliefs seek their own interests, do everything for their own advantage and always expect the opposite parties to pay the price. Islam has based its ethics and morality on these worldly values and this is the reason for its ungodliness. Islamic peace is equal to surrendering; Israel must surrender, all people of other beliefs must surrender to Islam. Islamists will not rest until all the world is made subject to Islam. This is what the Quran teaches:
The bedouins say: "We believe." Say: "You believe not but you only say, 'We have surrendered (in Islâm),' for Faith has not yet entered your hearts. But if you obey Allâh and His Messenger, He will not decrease anything in reward for your deeds. Verily, Allâh is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful." (Sura 49:14).The precondition for following Islam is surrendering to Allah and his prophet Muhammad against your own desire and understanding. This is sharply different to the approaches of Jesus Christ. The Gospel says since we have the Spirit of faith in Christ, we also believe, and therefore speak (2 Corinthians 4:13). In other words, we investigate, evaluate, make sure and believe first and then confess with our mouth, but in Islam you surrender first and then believe even though without understanding. The doctrine of peace in Islam follows the same principle: you surrender to Islam first and then expect peace from Muslims. So the true manifestation of Islamic peace is how much others are willing to sacrifice for Islam. That’s why Islamists enslave, crucify or behead those who do not give up their rights. They are at war with Islam according to the doctrine of Islam. But in Christ, the approach is different. He paid the price even for His enemies so that they could pause for a moment, use their brains and hearts, and see whether peace and harmony would be better choices than hatred and hostility.
That’s why we, as the followers of Jesus Christ, have a profound mission in opening the eyes of people to the uniqueness of His approaches to peace. He is the Prince of Peace.
As we are approaching Christmas, let us whole-heartedly believe that the Birth of Christ is the gift of peace from heaven to the world. Christ has chosen us to pass His gift to others and encourage them to open their hearts to receive Him as their Prince of Peace.