CHOOSING LOVE OVER HATE


STANDING STRONG THROUGH THE STORM

CHOOSING LOVE OVER HATE
=======================
Bless those who persecute you; bless and do
not curse. Romans 12:14

At the early age of eleven, Sam was living a
pious Muslim life in the southern
Philippines. He prayed at mosques on
Fridays and fasted during Ramadan. Sam
was the only one of his siblings sent
to school where he excelled both in
classroom and sports. He was everybody’s
favourite, popular and well-loved.

But everything changed one afternoon.
After school, Sam passed by his
grandfather’s house who happened to be a
Christian. He saw a maroon book with
‘Kitab Injil’ (The Gospel) written on
the cover. He opened it and started
reading. “I was drawn to Jesus because
his teachings were so different…Help
the needy, obey and respect parents,
do not be a false witness…they were not
taught in Islam. Before that, I
only knew to repay evil with evil.”

So Sam committed his life to
following Jesus and His teachings in the Bible.
He was just a fifth grader
then. Although he was the only Christian in his
family, Sam’s parents and
siblings respected his new faith. But outside his
home, among his friends, it
was a different story. “You’re a kafir (infidel)!
You are not my friend
anymore.”

It was very painful for Sam to be deserted by his friend. His
classmates at
grade school kept a good distance from him. Some mocked him,
calling him
kafir. There were times during classes when kids would throw
their shoes at
him. They bullied him by writing stuffs on his uniform,
filling his bag with
sand, and even punching him.

One day, a
friend-turned-enemy yelled at him. “You Christians are filthy!
Christians are
garbage!” Sam cried and ran home. There were times when he was
tempted to
fight back, but he remembered the words of Jesus to love the
enemies, to
bless and not curse. In his heart, he prayed for those who bullied
him and
repaid them with a kind smile instead.

Sam, now seventeen, has endured
physical harassment, insults, and
discrimination from friends and school
mates for boldly telling them that he
is a Christian.

After Sam joined
the Open Doors’ discipleship program for MBB youths, he has
become even
bolder in seizing every opportunity to share his faith in Jesus.
Sam knows
that doing so might cost him his life someday.

“When I think of my
friends, my heart breaks. I lost them, and though they
turned out to be my
enemies, I don’t hate them. Instead, I pray for them that
one day they will
meet my Lord Jesus and be changed.”

RESPONSE: Jesus wants me to not repay
evil with evil but rather love, bless
and pray for those who are my
enemies.

PRAYER: Help me Lord to live among those who oppose me with the
character of
Jesus and respond to them with love and not hate.

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