A new church member continually dwells on a perpetual stream of negatives bombarding his household. He lives with his wife and son, along with her adult son from a previous marriage, and his aging and ailing mother.
He constantly requests prayer for the extensive list of negatives plaguing his household, yet appears defeated while asking. He also wonders why he cannot find “victory in Jesus” and the “joy that passes understanding” he hears others talk about.
However, when others (myself included) tell him to spend time in introspection along with asking God to reveal any lessons needing to be learned or any obstacles that are hindering the household from experiencing the joy of Christ and His blessings, he immediately becomes defensive. And the defensive attitude always surrounds the issue of Islam.
His wife and step-son, though not members of any mosque, choose to read the Quran: at the urging of the son. Their youngest son attends church with his father. And the elderly mother apparently keeps clear of both sides.
It is true that God allows each of us to go through trials. Trials strengthen the faith of those who endure and trust God to see them through. However, not all trials we face in life are God-ordained. Many trials are self-inflicted: the consequence of personal choices.
Therefore, there comes a time during periods of spiritual drought (a time of prolonged trials and lack of blessings) when individuals need to reconsider personal choices. Pray for guidance and discernment. Compare decisions and actions with God’s Word. Keep an open mind and spirit in order to accept His divine answers. And be strong enough to accept responsibility for choices and actions.
When the church member immediately gets defensive about a specific topic – especially prior to that topic being brought up by anyone – it is a clear sign that he is already aware and concerned about the issue. The unction of the Holy Spirit is doing a work in him, and he’s probably already giving the topic a lot of thought.
Unfortunately, we humans often prolong our trials by our reluctance to confront problematic issues beyond thought: especially when action may be needed. For instance, people with addictive personalities have a hard time confronting their addictions because they believe the addiction (alcohol, drugs, etc) fills a void within them.
The church member is well-aware of the problems that can arise when diverse belief systems reside within a family confined to a single-dwelling. And what makes it worse is that the beliefs are not compatible or equally tolerant. Unlike beliefs such as Christianity and Judaism, which worship the same God and have similar core values, Islam specifically calls for the subjugation and/or death of infidels (anyone who does not accept Islam).
The Quran states the following in Sura (or chapter) 9, verse 29, regarding war against non-Muslims:
“Fight against those who (1) believe not in Allah, (2) nor in the Last Day, (3) nor forbid that which has been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, (4) and those who acknowledge not the religion of truth (i.e., Islam) among the people of the Scripture (Jews and Christians), until they pay the Jizyah with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”
Sura 47, verse 4 begins with the following:
“So when you meet (in fight Jihad in Allah’s Cause), those who disbelieve smite at their necks till when you have killed and wounded many of them, then bind a bond firmly (on them, i.e., take them as captives).”
Naturally, God is well-aware of the complications that can arise in households with diverse beliefs. In 2 Corinthians 6:14 the Bible states the following:
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship has righteousness with unrighteousness? And what communion has light with darkness?”
As you can see Jehovah is not a vindictive God. He is a loving God. He knows human nature will bring about conflict when those with diametrically opposed views reside in close proximity, but He does not tell the Believer to kill or enslave the Unbeliever, as we see in the Quran. The Bible simply gives a stern warning as a caution to believers and non-believers that such incompatibility is a recipe for problems, and should be given due consideration.
In Luke 11:17 we see another confirmation from a different perspective:
“But he, knowing their thoughts, said unto them, Every Kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and a house divided against a house falls.”
Do the above passages suggest Christians separate or divorce spouses with different beliefs? No, they do not. They are warnings to consider primarily before entering long-term relationships and marriage. However, if the different beliefs are accepted after a couple joins, God would prefer the union remains intact; unless, of course, appropriate reasons for divorce (adultery, abuse, etc) are involved. For God knows that the believing mate can have a positive influence on the other mate, and every soul is worth saving, if possible.
In 1 Corinthians 7:14 we see the following:
“For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean: but now are they holy.”
And God shows His desire to save as many unbelievers as He can throughout the Bible; such as 2 Peter 3:9:
“The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”
In God’s eyes, the new church member is the spiritual head of the house. It is his responsibility to engage in spiritual warfare (fasting and prayer, etc), and to take further action if necessary, in order to allow God to confront the obstacles within the household. Unfortunately, his present defensive attitude creates additional obstacles and barriers that hinder God’s plan and blessings for their lives.
Have you built barriers that hinder God’s efforts on your behalf? Are there areas in your life where you get overly defensive with little or no provocation? If so, perhaps it’s time to acknowledge God’s efforts to get your attention regarding those issues. Remember, even God’s worst is better than our best. But He desires the best for each of us.