Over the next couple of days, you’re about to hear a whole lot of hatred spewed from people who feel like their hatred is justified. A man in Oklahoma has murdered a woman he worked with–reportedly by beheading. It is also reported that this man has recently tried to convert some of his coworkers to Islam. This comes right after American journalists have been killed by beheading recently. After hearing horrific stories like this, you, like many people, will be tempted to allow it to fan the flames of prejudice that burns in each of us to some degree. We can’t let this happen. We are better than our fears and our prejudices make us seem.
If you haven’t heard about this awful and most recent story yet, you will very soon. People will attempt to use this story as “proof” of what Muslims are REALLY like. People will use this story to make a case for everyone carrying a gun to work. People will use this story to spread FEAR. Already, there are thousand of comments on stories about this killing…. Comments like these:
“Remember our leader Obama has said these kind of people are not part of Islam because Islam is the religion of peace!!! I wonder how many times that has to be said before it sticks, or the fools saying it realize they are wrong?”
“Notice the uproar coming from the Muslim community? Me neither. Thank God somebody had a gun and could stop the insanity.”
“Muslims seem to be coming out of the wood work and trying to convert us all.”
“Bring back the Templar Knights and wipe islam out.”
“You’ll see that no Muslim group in America will come out and say that anyone who beheads others is committing an evil act. This is because Muhammad practiced beheading his victims and in Islam his behavior can’t be wrong.”
“This is in our backyard now. If there is anyone out there who still believes Islam is a peaceful religion then they are in denial or stupid. Islam is a vicious and violent cult that worships a moon idol named ‘allah’ that commands them to kill all non-idol worshippers. This POS was radicalized right here in the heartland at a mosque near you. How long are the citizens of this country going to put up with the inept and inexcusable non leadership of this criminal administration? How many people will have to die here for everyone to wake up?”
And on and on and on….
It’s easy to give in to anger and fear…. The other night, I was driving with my kids after picking up some dinner to eat while we watched a movie (eating on the floor is way more likely when Mom is gone for the night), and I was in a hurry because is was getting late. On the way home, a Muslim man stepped out into the very busy road while walking next to his bike. He looked right at me and pointed–insisting that I stop. As I stopped, I was immediately pissed at this momentary inconvenience…. and his face seemed a little angry. I think I yelled something like, “What the hell are you doing?!?” through my open windows (no A/C in the van) He was close to the front of my van, and for a moment, I considered locking my doors (but there is power locks–classy). Then I saw what he was doing. He motioned to a young women who was standing on the side of the road, trying to cross. She was holding her daughter’s hand (who looked about three) on one side, and with her other hand she held a baby in a car seat.
The woman that this Middle Eastern man was helping across the road was African American. It shouldn’t matter, but for some reason it does to me…. That this man went out of his way and put himself in danger to help a woman from a completely different culture. He stopped traffic–one lane at a time, on a busy six lane road–and kept himself and his beat up bike between this small family and the oncoming traffic. When he got halfway across, he moved his bike to the other side…. Moving slowly, pointing at cars, insisting that they stop, speaking words I did not understand, ushering this woman and her kids along…. Loving a stranger. A stranger who was in the sort of situation where she felt like she had to walk her kids across Nolensville Road, AFTER THE SUN HAD GONE DOWN, to get to the freaking Walmart.
I don’t care which God this man prays to…. I felt like I was looking at Jesus.
I know how horrible and scary a story like this can seem, but please…. I’m begging you…. Take a deep breath. If you feel like a story like this needs a reaction, let your reaction be prayer. Pray for the family of the woman who was killed. Pray for the Muslim families all over this country, who already deal with prejudice on a daily basis, and who heard about this tragedy and were as horrified as anyone else. Pray for them as they read comments people have written on stories of this killing that are as hateful and evil as any man with a knife. Pray that hatred does not gain a foothold in our hearts. This fear that one deranged man was able to invoke, we must not allow it to cloud our sanity–A sanity that knows thoughts like “They’re all like that” come from the absolute worst part of us. Please, Church, if there was ever a time to look like Jesus, it’s now! God help us…
If you feel like it, I would love it if you wanted to leave this post on hateful comments that you encounter online.