Rev. Austin Miles, a chaplain in Northern California is a writer and historian. He is the author of Santa's Surprising Origins, a story that received worldwide circulation and resulted in him being cast in the 2004 Hallmark Christmas Movie titled, Single Santa Seeks Mrs. Claus. He played the mall Santa who magically received the gift of sign language.

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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Religion • Must Christians Forgive Muslims for 9-11 Attacks? Special 9-11 Feature

When the attacks first happened, it unleashed in all of us every emotion known…anger…rage…a sense of helplessnes…loss…fear…and a passion for revenge. Every emotion that could be explained was present that day and still remains.

Then a word came to mind; Forgiveness. Can we really forgive those who caused such horrific deaths of innocent people? As I struggled with this idea, I had to ask what Jesus would do…and what the Bible says.

I do know that we are instructed to love all. Can we get past the bitter feelings of the attack to love them enough for them to realize that they have been deceived by their religious leaders?

Do we love them enough to talk to them about God and the truth?

Can we show enough love to desire their salvation? THAT is what my own particular role must be.

As for forgiveness, that means releasing those feelings of anger from ourselves and putting it all into God’s hands. Harboring bitter feelings will only hurt us and our health if we allow that stress to become a part of us.

We must move past that. Also, we must have a wisdom to deal firmly with those who would harm us or try to destroy us by severely stopping them.

The Bible does not require that we just lie down and let our enemies do to us what they will. It DOES require that we LOVE our enemies enough to want to see their salvation and spared from hell.

Abraham Lincoln, who faced a similar situation—a horrendous war 144 years ago, said this, which is also relevant for today: “The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves.” Lincoln said this to Congress on Dec. 1, 1862.

Yes, this is a tricky new age unlke anything we have experienced in the past as the world changes. And the same God who has been with us in the past, will be with us in the future, IF we give Him place in our lives.

Deuteronomy 31:6 says: “Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them; for the Lord thy God, He it is that doth go with thee; He will not fail thee or forsake thee.”

America’s situation is not helpless. if the living church will rise to be the church God intends, America can be turned around for good—and—for God.

It is time to prove that we are authentic Christians. who can be identified in this Scripture verse: John 13:35: “By THIS shall all men KNOW that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.” (emphasis mine)

That love means to love not just those who love us back, but to love PEOPLE in general who are all valuable to God.

So must we forgive the Muslims who attacked us?

It is not a question of forgiving or pardoning them. It is a question of LOVING them enough to want to see them learn the truth about Jesus, find a new life through salvation, and yes, to escape hell. This is forgiving wisely.

Those who accept Jesus and walk with Him can no longer be our enemy.They will be a brother or sister we can love. So there is everything to gain by following biblical instruction. When we get to that point, THEN the church can regain her rightful place in society.

Rev. Austin Miles, a chaplain in Northern California, was once affiliated with Glad Tidings Tabernacle in New York City which became the clearing house and coordinator for chaplains who came to New York to assist.

 

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