A friend posted a placard on Facebook recently that displayed pictures of various people. Underneath the individual pictures were simple descriptions. These were those descriptions:
- This is not a Muslim; this is a Sikh.
- This is not a Muslim; this is a Hindu.
- This is not a Muslim; this is a Buddhist.
- These are not Muslims; these are Christians.
- This is not a Muslim; this is a fundamentalist nutjob terrorist!
It wasn’t that I disagreed with his point. The thing that really bothered me was within myself. I looked at the picture of the Sikh and realized I always thought the Sikhs were a sect of Islam. Is my face red!
The placard forced me to actually do some research. I discovered that not only are the Sikhs not Muslims, they don’t get along with Muslims.
I’m not sure how I picked up this misinformation in the first place.
I’m not sure how I picked up this misinformation in the first place. I apparently misunderstood something along the way. Maybe someone misinformed me. Even worse, I may have just made some poor associative assumptions. As the kids like to say these days, “My bad!”
There’s enough bad blood floating around this planet without some well-meaning dolt like me adding to the ignorance. Fortunately, I don’t think I ever shared my errant knowledge with anyone else. But since I’m a preacher, the possibility had certainly existed.
I try not to badmouth anyone (including Muslims). I do, however, slip up now and again just like everyone else I know. One of the more embarrassing things in life is to accuse someone of something only to discover they’re innocent.
I don’t think it’s a secret that a lot of Muslims in general are getting a bad rap these days. I assume most of them don’t deserve it. If they actually did, the world would be in a lot worse shape than it is.
I neither recommend nor endorse trashing others. In fact, I strongly counsel against it. But if you’re bound and determined to do it, it would behoove you to at least know whom it is you’re trashing.
We tend to paint with very broad brushes.
This sort of behavior is certainly not relegated to faith battles. It branches out into lots of areas of our lives. We seem to have a great propensity for painting people with very broad brushes. In doing so, we crush the innocent along with the guilty.
I seem to recall Jesus saying something about pulling up weeds and inadvertently destroying the good wheat along with them. He advised against that.
Our problem seems to be an unwillingness to distinguish between the weeds and the wheat. We just randomly destroy what’s in front of us. A little discernment mixed with more knowledge of the facts might go a long way. If you’ve ever been on the wrong end of that attitude, you know what I mean.