WE CAN’T AFFORD TO FAIL . . . THE COST WILL BE TOO HIGH
With the world now connected like never before all religions are all places. All over the world every religion is growing in every place regardless of religious freedom or location. It has to do with connectivity, migration, and globalization. As a result governments, business, educators – everyone in every domain is having to learn how to relate to each other on a global stage and platform with people from different backgrounds, races, tribes, nationalities, etc., We are seeing the same thing in how we relate to people of other faiths.
Sadly, we are not handling how we relate to each other of different faiths that well. This isn’t something that we can afford to mess up. This isn’t something we can keep screwing up and think it won’t come back to haunt us. This isn’t something we need to ignore or throw fire on – either response can be deadly. We must learn to relate in a MULTIFAITH world – this is one of the reasons why I wrote BOLD AS LOVE. We now live in a religiously plural world.
If we don’t deal with the reality of religious pluralism – it’s bad for our faith –
in so many ways. When we act as if only our faith matters and we can disrespect others, it destroys others and distorts our faith.
IGNORING OR DISRESPECTING people of other faiths denies the ethics of the followers of Jesus. We have been told to “love our enemies.” If anything – we are to be willing to loose our lives for the sake of the Gospel – not hate others for the sake of the Gospel. Our message is only as powerful as our life. We are told by Jesus to love others. We are told by Jesus to “imitate God.” We are told by Jesus to “serve” all men. We are told by Paul to treat “all men with respect.”
IGNORING OR DISRESPECTING people of other faiths hurts all of our religious freedom. Do we really believe in religious freedom, not just for our group and where they are persecuted – but for all religions all over the world – even in the United States of America? I want everybody to know Jesus – but I don’t want it legislated, mandated, or intimidation from the “majority” or there will never be global religious freedom. Jesus and Paul engaged people of other faith and did so with integrity and love – not hate. The only people they got rough on, was their own tribe.
IGNORING OR DISRESPECTING people of other faiths keeps them away from the Gospel of Jesus. Jesus told his followers to “take the Gospel” to the ends of the earth. When “in the name of Jesus” those of us who try to be followers of Jesus are isolated or mean spirited, why are they going to listen to our message.
IGNORING OR DISRESPECTING people of other faiths generates tensions locally and globally. Do we really want to have “religious wars”? I don’t. Do we really want to send our sons and daughters off to fight a war because we weren’t talking to one another and vilified another group? I don’t. Do we want to live a life of fear and tension? I don’t. We must learn from history – we must reach out to the other side and at a minimum build relationships simple so we can coexist.
IGNORING OR DISRESPECTING people of other faiths is something we will answer to God for. God is strong enough to defend himself. In my own life, I had wrapped my faith in my flag, my tribe, my culture, and yes – even my religion. When I unwrapped my faith – what I found was no less than Jesus – not in a manger, but in this world that he so loves. Bonhoeffer had it right “Jesus bids us come and die.” I simply am asking “Come and dine.”
Bob is the founder, senior leader, and chief spokesman for Glocal.net . His primary focus is to connect leaders and estabish relationships to explore transformation. Follow Bob on Twitter at @bobrobertsjr.