Wednesday, September 26, 2012

How I deal with my Islamophobia

Yep, I have Islamophobia.  I admit it.  I'm not even ashamed of it, for that matter.  But, I know, I cannot and will not be controlled by it.

The biggest symptom of this, for me, flares up when I fly.  There is a tiny part in the pit of my stomach that tenses up when I see a person I perceive to be a Muslim on the plane with me.  I don't get off the plane.  I don't alert everyone that I think there will be a problem on the plane.  In fact, after the plane takes off and I get involved in my book, I don't even think about it again.  But I remember what happened on September 11, 2001.  I remember the faces of the terrorists that attacked our nation.  I remember.

And then I remember what Paul says in Romans 12:18-21.  He says, "If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good."

The image of heaping burning coals on a person's head sounds like it means to cause a person pain, but it really is not. It is meant to give the image of stirring up the coals of a fire to bring it back to life after the fire begins to die down. This is to be an image to cause a person a response of remorse, when they see your kindness in the face of their meanness. Paul is saying, in this passage, we cause our enemies to be remorseful for their actions toward us, or as we say these days, "kill them with kindness."

This is the rub.  "... but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord."  Waiting.  Leaving vengeance to God.  Trusting God will do what he says he is going to do.  Trusting God will do what he says he is going to do without being around to see it.  Waiting...  Trusting...  Believing...

Then letting it go and overcoming evil with good.

On a person to person level I can absolutely do this.  I can be helpful to a Muslim mother struggling with groceries and children.  I can hold a door open or do whatever kindnesses would be needed on a person to person basis.

As a group, I'm frightened of Muslims.  I know there is a faction that hates me just because I'm an American.  I know this faction preys upon the poor and uneducated in their nations and trains them in hate from early childhood.  I know that this type of hate is not born into them, but fed and nurtured and brought to full hate-filled bloom.

As certain as I am of the hate there is for me, because I'm an American, I am equally certain the images in the Atlantic Wire are true.  As certain as I am that there are Muslims doing nothing more each day than plotting and planning to harm and kill me, because I'm an American, I'm equally certain the images of the Muslims portrayed in Gawker about #Muslim Rage are true.

I can only begin to wait and trust and believe from where I am right now.  I struggled with the verses the study had us use to go through this lesson on Islamophobia.  (You can check out these verses yourself, if you so desire:  Genesis 34:1-31, Leviticus 19:1-3, 9-18, 32-37, Jonah 1:1-17, John 10:11-16, IChorinthians 10:23-11:1, and ITimothy 6:1-5)

I chose to stick with a tried and true verse I know by heart, "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life."  (John 3:16)

I will continue in my struggle to love others as Jesus loved.  I will continue to pray for peace.  I'm left where I started.  As a Christian I need to love; forgive as I have been forgiven; and be a reflection of Christ.  As an American, I cannot tolerate an attack on my country without repercussion.  I cannot allow attacks on our allies and threats of attacks without defending them.  So what do I do?  How do I act?  What am I to feel?  It seems if I'm to be a "good" Christian I need to act passive.  To me, this seems weak.  I hate to appear weak.  But I remember the child's song that reminds me, "when I am weak, He is strong."  I'm not a child anymore, but maybe I need to be like one, in this case.

Again, I will trust that there is true evil in the world and trust what Paul says in IITimothy 3:1-9.  "But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men."

And I'll pray, Jesus, do not tarry.

Linking with Emily at Imperfect Prose on Thursday

589.  Allowing God to chip off my sharp edges
590.  Reading the bible with Christians much further along in their walk than I am
591.  Learning to wait, by reading about Noah
592.  Learning to trust, by reading about Joseph
593.  Learning to believe, by reading about Jonah
594.  Learning to pray, by reading about Jesus 
595.  Being able to let myself be weak and allow him to be strong  

15 comments:

  1. sounds like this is a good study....and it pulls back the scabs on those things we have come to expect in our lives....letting god take care of the wrath....big thing there...thanks for sharing your insights with us...smiles.

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  2. I don't think I've heard anyone admit this, but I think there's a little bit of fear in all of us that what happened on that horrible day will happen again in some form. I'm glad that you are being honest about your fear. And it sounds like you're finding the right perspective through study of the Bible--the best place to start. Also, think that a "passive" response is not being "weak" but "meek." Puts a whole different spin on how we are to respond.

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  3.  I agree that most of us probably feel this way more than we will admit...b/c it's not politically correct.  It's all very confusing, how to love people you don't trust.  I only know this - there IS evil in the world, and in the end, God wins.  Always. 

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  4. God sent David to rid the Israelites of Goliath. God sent His people out to fight - and there is much talk of vengeance against those who go against God - and it is a good man who champions the bullied. Jesus lost his temper against the money changers in the temple - yes - it is a confusing issue where it seems we are called to love and protect - One of my favorite movies is Alvin C York with Gary Cooper - who wrestles against this very thing. 

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  5. We must love the people, but I hate their ideology!

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  6. My niece's husband is a Muslim - he's a peaceful guy and works in the Turkish government.  I think he's in the majority of Muslims that are peaceful.

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  7. I believe most Muslims are peaceful. 

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  8.  I'm going to look for that movie. 

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  9.  Yep, we know how this story ends.  It's just hard living through the middle of it.  :)

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  10. Thanks for contrasting weak and meek.  I'm going to give this some thought.

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  11. i remember that "perfect loves casts out fear," and that each of us is made in the image of God. just as christian extremists don't represent me, islamic extremists do not represent most muslims. islam means peace.

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  12. a very honest post, friend. i appreciate the way you're not dwelling in fear, but striving towards perfect love.

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  13. Jennifer RichardsonOctober 1, 2012 at 9:02 AM

    i love this...just love it altogether.
    thanks for sharing the brilliant beauty of your heart
    -Jennifer.

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  14. You are a bigot. No more to it.

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  15. I am a Muslim, I live in a multi faiths society and country. I, as a Muslim, do not hate Americans or America. I hope you will engage in multi faiths settings and get to know Muslims in your area. I say you'll be surprise how much you'll learn and also as a way to overcome this Islamophobia. The attacks have nothing to do with Islam as a religion.
    Came across your posts when I am doing my research on Islamophobia.
    All my love, we are all the same.

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