Monday, March 14, 2016

Jesus Loves You

Dear Muslim Friends,

I am a Caucasian mother and grandmother and a follower of Jesus Christ. I was born in Aden, Yemen, grew up in Somalia, went to college in United States, married a Canadian and lived in Pakistan for a decade. A brief time was spent in Tunisia. There is a special place in my heart for Muslims. 

Right now it is our holy days of remembering Jesus Christ's death and  burial and celebrating his awesome coming back to life. He broke the power of death and defeated Satan. Yes!!  He did not escape suffering. We do not have a fantasy Jesus. No, rather we have a strong victorious Savior who walked right through suffering and understands our suffering.  This is all according to what is written in the Injeel.  Maybe in your country you only know what has been passed on to you from your family and religious clerics. You are afraid to ask questions. Maybe you feel you are not allowed to ask questions.  One of my Libyan friends got the courage up and once asked, “Joy, where is Jesus?”  I know you have been raised to believe that Jesus Christ did not die on the cross, was not buried in a grave, and did not come back to life. You have been told he was just an honored prophet and that God would not let him suffer shame on the cross. You have been told the Injeel has been changed or corrupted. My friend, the Jesus in the Qur'an and the Jesus in the Injeel are not the same Jesus. They are quite different although there are some similarities.

My friend, Aida, forlornly said to me, “Joy, this life is all about punishment, punishment, punishment – in this life and the next.”   Fawziah told me recently that she always wants to stay busy because if everything is quiet and still she would remember all the shame of her childhood. Her mother used to take her in a room as a little girl, close the doors and windows to muffle screaming, and then beat her with a big rock all over her body and yell horrible shameful words to her that she can’t forget to this day. Shazia shared how she is so distressed by a Qur’an study which takes place in peoples' homes. Lately they have had discussions about whether it is according to the Qur’an or Hadith that a thief should have his hand cut off for stealing.  Punishment. Shame. These are burdens too heavy for us to carry. We collapse under them. Oh, that someone would take away our punishment and shame. That is exactly what Jesus Christ did on the cross. He was punished for our sins. He took our shame upon himself. He does not inflict punishment and shame to correct us and keep us afraid.  Rather he takes it away from us and carries it himself. Why?  Because he loves us and wants to free us from punishment and shame. Free. Cleansed. Forgiven. He loves good people and bad people. We are changed and corrected by his love – not by receiving punishment and shame. I would encourage you to read the full story of Jesus Christ in the Injeel. Do not be afraid to do so. If you can not get hold of a paper Bible you can read it on the internet in your language. God will not punish you for reading it. And do not forget – God LOVES you! 

Your Friend,