Sometimes it is amazing to see the different assumption that people bring to the proverbial table. This fact was brought to my attention after a refugee friend and I had a discussion about forgiveness. My friend is a Muslim from Palestine – a very friendly and thoughtful man of about 30 years of age. Although our conversation began as an innocent discussion of geography, it quickly changed to theology when my friend made a comment about all the crime that takes place in Christian nations (by this, my friend – like many Muslims – refers to North America and Western Europe). His reasoning was this: since Christians believe they can be forgiven so easily (we only have to ask), we are more apt to commit crimes – including theft, violence, and even murder. As he sees it, his logic is only confirmed by the media, which reports on the high crime rates of American cities and the loose sexuality of American pop-stars. To be honest, I was shocked by my friends perspective. I tried to explain to him that God is no fool – that His grace cannot be used/abused as licence to sin; that when we accept His grace it changes us, and demands change from us. Yet my friend simply smiled, as if to say that he did not believe me. From his worldview, the crime and sin of American culture is a direct result of our theology. Based on our relationship, I trust that my friend and I will continue this conversation later. Please join me in prayer for my friend – that God would open his eyes to the wonder and awe of His grace, to the necessity of the cross and the depth of mankind’s sinfulness. Pray that I (and our entire team) would be a living counterexample to his assumptions about Christian living. And thank you for sending us here, that we could have conversations like this, as we offer both a simple meal and eternal hope – both in the name of Jesus.

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