Recently, President Trump announced the decision to move the United States Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. We are grateful for those who have expressed their concern and prayer for our family and others in the region. Please allow me to share a few things:
First, we will most definitely deal with some backlash. President Trump has decided that now is the time to announce the move of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Although that will likely take some years to complete, those of us living in the Muslim world will undoubtedly deal with a backlash from this decision. Already violent protests have taken place across the Muslim world and more are sure to follow.
The stark reality is that this decision will definitely negatively affect our personal relationships with those whom we are trying to reach. One of the most “dangerous” accusations that can be levied against missionaries is not the accusation of preaching the Gospel; it is the accusation that they are spies for the US government. This is a very real fear in the minds of people in other countries. Recent events will only serve to accentuate distrust of Americans and make that baseless accusation more legitimate in the minds of those in the Muslim world.
Although we are probably not, nor will we be in any imminent danger from the reaction to this decision, we didn’t come to this part of the world because it is safe; we did not come to seek adventure; we came because God sent us. We came to lift up Jesus. We are not leaving until He moves us, and with His help, we will face what He allows to come our way (sometimes easier said than done).
Second, the answer is never politics. I love my country, but I have a disdain for politics. This world is a mess. The Middle East is not the only place that has issues. The answer to the world’s issues are never going to be solved by politicians. Often, we are guilty of looking for simple political answers that seem to be so elusively difficult to find. Whatever his personal political feelings, a believer must always remember that the real answer to real-world problems is the Person of Jesus. Yes…that answer seems so simple, so elementary, but it is absolutely the truth. We all acknowledge that Jesus is the answer, but somehow, we can become so hung-up on issues that we forget to look beyond—to see what Jesus is doing and seize the opportunities for Him to be lifted up.
Third, we must be people who respond to others in the spirit of Jesus. True followers of Jesus love all people. I love Jews; I love Muslims; I desire to love all men with the heart of Jesus. Everyone is going to have his opinion on the situation. Let us take a moment to step back and to consider the situation from the perspective of the “other guy.” It would help us. While our opinions about a given situation may not change, our compassion for people just might change. Let us look at others through the eyes of the Savior. Let us look deeper than the exterior.
We should be kind; kind in our spirit; kind in our dialog; kind in our answers. We should allow the spirit of Jesus to pervade every part of our lives and to guide our thinking and our responses to others. One’s “right-ness” does not justify rudeness. Let us not only speak of Jesus, let us speak like Jesus. Let us have His spirit.
How can you pray? Do not first pray for our safety. Safety is of the Lord and is never a Scriptural goal (that is a topic for another time). Pray that God will give us opportunities to use this and other situations for His glory. Pray that we would be faithful and obedient. Pray that we would be bold ambassadors for the King. Pray that the Word of God would have free course. Pray that we will be led by the Spirit of God to those most ready to receive the truth of the Gospel. Pray that God would give lasting fruit.
—Written by a worker laboring among the Arabs in the Middle East