Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul and strength; and love your neighbor as yourself.
As a Christian it's easy to look at the good deeds you do towards fellow believers and be satisfied, but what happens when the opportunity comes to help someone of a different faith? Strangely, it sometimes feels like helping a Buddhist, Hindu or Muslim would mean condoning their religion and betraying your own; yet helping them reinforces the Christian worldview even more.
The religious leaders in the parable of the good samaritan were looked down upon because of their failure to help the Jewish man; and the woman at the well should not have even been approached by Jesus because of their cultural and religious differences. In the Garden of Gethsemane, Jesus healed the ear of a soldier who was coming to arrest Him! His love did not discriminate by race, culture or even belief.
This past Saturday, The Crossing Church partnered with Rebuilding Tampa Bay to help restore homes in a lower-income area. We painted, cleaned yards, did landscaping and more. You can see the video below.
One of the six homes on our list for restoration belonged to a Muslim family. Husband, wife and five teenage boys. Their yard was unkept and had debris everywhere. While we had no choice in the homes that were assigned, we chose to do an excellent job and show Christ's love to this family. The large dumpster in the video was the debris in their yard after clean up.
So was it wrong to serve a Muslim family? No. Did it feel weird? A little. The truth is, I have never been presented with an opportunity to serve a person or family of a vastly different belief. But after helping this family, it felt like the true love of Jesus came through.
The irony comes in when friends and neighbors of this family got agitated that the home owner allowed us to come and help him. "Why are you letting Christians help you?!" was the gist of their response. The friends and neighbors became agitated and offended.
Christianity is so often labeled as intolerant or prejudice against other beliefs. And while there are many things we don't agree with or support, showing Christ's love is always acceptable.