Grace, Fear and Our “Rights” Guest Post by Brian Hirschy

September 10, 2010 by cloften  
Filed under Family and Parenting

Brian is a new friend of mine.  He is a cultural photographer that lives in Tibet and a Grover.

Rights, Rights, Rights
As Americans, we are seriously bent on “our rights.”  Having rights, and furthermore actually valuing those rights, has undoubtedly made America into a great nation of freedom.  I am very thankful for my constitutional rights. That being said, in America, does this Pastor have the right to burn the Koran – Absolutely. No doubt about it. As a Christian, however, he certainly does NOT. Christian requirements are different, are they not?
Furthermore, I consistently hear Christians (everywhere) talking about “security” and often even confusing Americana w/ the teachings of the Bible and how we have Government given rights. To this we need to ask the question – who is sovereign over America? Who protects it? Who decides if we as a nation prosper or not? Heck, who even decided to let us exist? Is it God or is it the constitutionally given rights we so value?
We are required to give up so many of our rights as followers of Christ. Our reaction to things like this should not be through the “I’m an American” lens, but rather through the “Im a disciple of Jesus” lens. He never guarantees safety, lack of trouble, or even that we wouldn’t have to interact with people who violently disagree with our faith. We think that because radical Islamic countries burn the Bible almost daily that we have the right to return the favor. We continue to think it’s not FAIR that we don’t ‘overreact’ like many Muslim nations when they do so. We think it’s unfair that because they will overreact, our constitutional rights as American’s have been trampled on.  It’s not fair that they can burn the Bible but we can’t burn the Koran.  Fair sucks – it’s not fair that Jesus had to die for all of us idiots. Our rights, even the ones defended by the Constitution, went out the window when we were redeemed and now we are slaves to righteousness.
Fear is a tricky thing.  Fear comes when we aren’t confident in the Lords promises or our true identity in Him – when we aren’t focused on him. Fear is what is happening in New York right now, sparked by what we believe our ‘rights’ to be. Fear is what is happening in Florida right now. The belief that we must to strike back at radical muslims is only derivative of a lack of understanding of God’s sovereignty and a denial that His promises are true. Everyone in the world paint themselves as tolerant people, but how many of us get on an airplane and see an arabic looking person and the thought runs through our mind, ‘Oh crap! It’s a terrorist” or at least watch the person carefully.
Let me give you another example. Where I live I’m fully allowed to enter the mosque and DEBATE the tenants of Islam, PEACEFULLY and in a civilized manner. No one has tried to cut my face off at a mosque that has more than 300,000 members. I’ve even been able to talk regularly to the imam of the mosques in a Godly manner and he fully realizes that we follow Jesus. Most of us don’t realize that the Koran ACTUALLY teaches that true believers are those who seek the truth and are willing to be peaceful in all things – Muslims, according to the Koran, are supposed to, before anything else, be described as people of peace. Furthermore, the Koran speaks very highly of followers of Jesus and that they are to NOT be persecuted in several different passages.  Yes, their are verses that speak severely towards those who wage war against Islam and that everyone should become a Muslim.  These passages are what cause splits among the Muslim religion, but my point is that we in general are acting out of fear and true ignorance of these verses.
Yet, our churches get really uncomfortable when someone of another faith is among our congregation or even someone who is different that then general makeup of the congregation joins us. We are fearful of this Muslim Community Center – whose written agenda is to promote inter-faith conversation and cultural understanding. We are fearful that, “What if it’s just a safe haven for Muslim extremists?!”   We are fearful that to enter into a conversation about who God is and then who Jesus is with a Muslim, Buddhist, or atheist will only challenge our faith in ways we don’t want to be challenged really – we in effect deny the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives and our own.  We so often refuse to even know what the Koran says because we are fearful and not confident that Jesus is who He said He is. Please, please don’t hear a universalist message here – God says that there is NO gospel but the gospel and that those outside of it are outside of Him. However, He also said to love those different than you – even those who make you fearful, persecute you, and are dead set against you.  Love those who blew up the Twin Towers.  Love those who would even want to kill your children. How does this NOT describe how we are to react even to Muslim Extremists.
It’s easy to strip the humanity from a group of people we have never met. Heck, it’s easy to strip humanity from those you even LOVE.  For example, I know their are eskimos somewhere in Alaska, but until I mean one, they will remain what I saw in a book in the 3rd grade. Like I’ve mentioned on my blog, my neighbors are muslim, I have many friends who are Muslim, the guy whose giving me a ride to the airport on Wednesday is a Muslim who knows I’m a Christian and gosh darn it, he still likes me!
We forget the message of Christ was not one of earthly power or where we are on the religious/spiritual food chain. We must remember that these are people that GOD sovereignly choice to create and put on this earth, without asking you, and we are called to love them the best we can with how God only enables us to do. The Word is clear that ANYTHING we do outside of that is sin.
What the dude said
This Pastor has stated, verbally, that he is standing up against the ‘radical sect of Islam’ stating that we will no longer bow our knees to them and no longer live in fear.  What?!  Where’s THAT in the Bible?? How easy is it to insert “We will NO LONGER turn the other cheek! We will no longer bow one on knee!” Seriously, what does the Word say about this? In NO uncertain terms it says this: love them, pray for them, turn the other cheek, give them your tunic (Luke 6). If this pastor hears God’s voice, like Luke says true believers do, he is a SLAVE to these things.  Slave = no rights. As an America, I deeply defend his right to do such a thing, as a Christian I strongly state that the Word says he does not.
Like has mentioned several times before, we by now means can expect people to react Godly who are not redeemed – this includes Americans and Muslim nations alike. We cannot expect non-believers to react with grace because it ONLY comes from the Father. Whether the burning happens or not, grace MUST abound and we must ask God to give us the ability to show that grace to both Radical Muslims as well as a man that is set on burning something he fears.
As you might have gathered, my perspective on living in a largely Muslim community in a communist nation vastly impacts my opinion on these things. But please hear this – the Muslims I know are people that are literally trying to get by in life yet.  Trying to make ends meet.  Are worried about there children… yet we more often than not, in our hearts, tend to group them together (I speak of myself in these things).

The events that are happening in America right now truly truly tear my heart to pieces. I’ve watched hateful things be spewed all over the place, and more often than not come out of the mouths of Christians. We are allowed to understand what peoples believes are we should not be fearful of them as well.

Even if EVERY SINGLE muslim was an extremist, the Word of God is clear that we are to still not retaliate, still love them, still bless them.


6 Responses to “Grace, Fear and Our “Rights” Guest Post by Brian Hirschy”
  1. Kim Blanchette says:

    Where do I find the rest?

  2. Jennifer Loftin says:

    “But I tell you that anyone who is angry with his brother will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to his brother, ‘Raca, is answerable to the Sanhedrin. But anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.” Matthew 5:22

    Is anyone else besides me concerned about all the Christians calling the Pastor in Florida a fool, idiot, stupid? Could it be in all our earnest attempts to side with righteousness that we become guilty of the same thing he is doing? I agree wholeheartedly with the statement above from the guest writer, especially that we need to love both ways. Love God with all our hearts, minds, soul and strength, love Muslims as ourselves, love our brothers who get it wrong as ourselves.

    Let God be the one who decides what gets burned in the end. I just want the coal from the alter to get to my lips first before judgment. I’m sure all of you are the same, too.

  3. Josh Hale says:

    Here is my rant… I really like reading this blog, there is often great insights and things that help me in my walk with Christ. But, I could care less about this extremist pastor in Florida with a church of 30. The only reason people are talking about this is because the media made it a big deal. It should have never have been reported on because it is ignorant people doing ignorant things. Just like I am sure Muslims are tired of the extremist giving them a bad name and that being associated with their religion. I am not “scared” of Muslims nor dislike them because of what the extremist of their religion do. I just wish we could get back to talking about stuff that would encourage and help me and stop giving time to this guy.

  4. Brian says:


    So true – grace MUST abound even when we continuously watch or brothers, friends, enemies doing things we disagree w/

  5. Jennifer Loftin says:

    Thanks Brian. Wave of good conviction hits me in reading that one sentence. I am not there in godly responses either but I want to be there. Get up today, dust off mistakes of the past. Relish the fact that in Christ there is now no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus, and start again relying on his grace.

    If anyone should care, here are my personal reflections on Muslim nations, extreme pastors, the beauty of God’s word, and 9/11. Warning, it is not eloquent but it is heartfelt and raw. Called “Full of Grace”, Click here:

    Please pray for my friend Kashif and his family made up of a wife, a daughter, and a son. He lives in Pakistan. I posted on fb the other night that I started a small group study at church to grow and he commented how he wished he had something like that to go to. There is such need. Let’s pray for Pakistan and please especially pray for my friend. Thanks!

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