HOW FAR DO WE GO IN LOVING OUR NEIGHBOR?

 

Meriam Ibrahim, is shown at her wedding, and also with her son and the newborn she had in prison for not renouncing Christ.

Meriam Ibrahim was prisoned for not renouncing Christ. It was in prison that she had to bare her second baby. Bottom right shows her wedding picture with her U.S. husband.

 

by Dr. Foster H. Shannon

Do you know the plight of Meriam Yahya Ibrahim, 27, who had been sentenced to 100 lashes and execution because she believes in Jesus Christ? Her father was a Muslim, but he left the family when she was 6 years old. She was raised by her mother, who is an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian. Yet because she had a Muslim father, she is considered to be a Muslim by Sharia law and guilty of blasphemy. The court ordered her to recant her Christian faith. She responded, “I am a Christian, and I will remain a Christian.” She was chained in a prison cell with her son and a new born baby. Many, all over the world have prayed for this woman, her children, and her husband, who is a Christian and a U.S. citizen. Her case was brought before a Sudanese court. The decision of the Court was that the Sudanese government had overreached, and the woman should be set free. Thousands of us who had prayed for her and her family rejoiced at the decision and the answer to prayer. However, it appears that she was prevented, at the last moment, from boarding a plane that would have taken her to the USA. At this writing we do not know the final outcome, but we hope and pray for the best.

This current situation raises important issues for us:

1. We are commanded by out Savior to love our neighbor. Is this lady, with her family, our neighbor for whom we have some responsibility? If we decide that, indeed, she is our neighbor, what can we do? We should remember the promise of scripture:

“The prayer of a righteous [person] has great power in its effects.”

(James 5:16) “Jesus looked at them and said to them, With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (Matthew 19:26)

We have the privilege of praying for those who are in need. Undoubtedly, an innumerable number of people have been praying, and are praying for this family. Our prayers, at least in part, have been answered. This woman had been sentenced to beating and death. She has been delivered from that. We must keep praying for her.

2. What can we do in addition to prayer? People have provided for her legal defense. Because of the efforts of many, this case has been brought to the attention of the world, so that even the Sudanese government has taken note. Help has been found for this family, because Christian people, especially, have cared.

3. We tend to underestimate the reality of the powers and forces of evil, with which we have to contend. We are surprised by mass killings, robberies, rapes, the vicious slaughter of about 1500 Iraqi soldiers who had surrendered to the Isis army.

“For we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present darkness…” (Ephesians

Sacrifice means that we give up something—or take on something that will serve and honor our Lord. Miriam was willing to give her life, rather than deny her Lord. Be assiduous in your study of the Bible. Recognize that our Lord needs everyone of us!


Foster H. Shannon
Please contact Foster directly with any questions or comments at the following address:

Thank you.

More about Foster… Foster H. Shannon, Brief Biographical Note Dr. Foster Shannon received his degree from the University of California, Berkeley in Political Science, and went on to obtain a Master of Divinity at Fuller Theological Seminary and a Doctor of Ministry from San Francisco Theological Seminary, with emphasis on church growth. The Interim Pastor of True Light Presbyterian Church in Alhambra, CA until recently, he is the author of seven books and a Sunday School curriculum. As the President of Green Leaf Press, a non-profit Christian publishing company, established in 1981, he publishes and markets Christian books with special emphasis on Bible Study, Church Growth, and Christian Evidences. The website is: www.gogreenleaf.com. He enjoys riding his bicycle and swimming weekly. He likes both classical and popular music. He roots for the CAL Bears and the Chicago Cubs.

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