Loving Neighbor: Christian & Muslim Relations

Unless you’ve seen the picture to the left already, it may seem like just an average picture  with two people holding hands.  It’s not.  The picture was actually taken during the recent protests in Cairo, Egypt.  In the background you see Muslims kneeling for prayer.  The two men holding hands are actually a group of native Christians who are surrounding the Muslim neighbors to protect them while they pray.

In Matthew 22:34-40, we learn that the greatest commands are to love God first and love neighbor second.  In Luke 10 one of the most memorable parables of Jesus, The Parable of the Good Samaritan, is told.  This parable is told when an expert in the law, trying to justify himself, wanted Jesus to expound on the question of just who a neighbor is.  We know the story and how it ends.  The one who acted neighborly was a Samaritan and for most Jewish people at the time, that was the last thing they wanted to hear.

What is important here is to recognize that loving neighbor has nothing to do with another person’s politics or religion.  Loving neighbor is what we are called to do regardless of who the neighbor is…even when there is a great amount of historical hostility between us and our neighbor, as in the case between Christians and Muslims.

The picture of these Christians in Egypt protecting their Muslim neighbors is a fine example and expression of loving neighbor.  While there are certainly Muslim extremist who have committed great acts of evil against Christians, historically Christians have also been guilty of terrible sins committed against humanity.  I can’t help but wonder how history would unfold in the future if examples like the above took place more often.  May we all learn to love our neighbor as ourself!

5 responses to “Loving Neighbor: Christian & Muslim Relations

  1. The Crusades were barbaric in many ways. My Episcopal See of Contantinople was sacked by Western Christians in 1204, nuns were raped, altars desecrated, and great Christian works of art and piety were stolen. However, the Crusades were a reaction to four centuries of Islamic enslavement of Christians, apartheid known as dhimmitude, and oppression, that continued for the next one thousand years. There is no symmetry at all between the horrors of Islam done to the world and to Christians compared to that done by Christians in the other direction.

    However, yes, love; love of enemies. It is what we are called to do. And I am proud of these believers in Egypt who are Kingdom manifesting in their protection of the Islamists praying.

  2. I specifically did not mention the crusades as an example of atrocities committed by Christians because even though I am aware of the crusades, I also know that the crusades are not the only terrible injustices committed by Christians acting with perceived religious justification.

    Grace and Peace,


  3. The apartheid regime in South Africa is a more recent example of man’s inhumanity to man and it was bolstered with an application of Scripture.

    • Very similar to the racial injustices carried out in the US prior to and during the Civil Rights era of American history. The bigotry and the acts committed because of that bigotry were justified by invoking God (divine initiative).

      Grace and Peace,


  4. Pingback: Loving Neighbor: Christian and Muslim Relations |

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