The Handshake & The Fist

The Handshake & The Fist

Mar 8:34-38

Calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how.
Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to saving yourself, your true self.
What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you?
What could you ever trade your soul for?
“If any of you are embarrassed over me and the way I’m leading you when you get around your fickle and unfocused friends, know that you’ll be an even greater embarrassment to the Son of Man when he arrives in all the splendor of God, his Father, with an army of the holy angels.”

During the past several weeks I have had the pleasure of seeing something I have not seen in my lifetime.

On social media I have witnessed many Arabic speaking citizens joining me.  Some who privately acknowledged they like what was being done.

Late me state all who reads, I believe that Christ died for all people, including those in the Arab countries.

Somehow, men have created barriers that separate into ethnic groups, religion, and country of origin.  I call this “the fist”.

Evangelicals in North America have had their part in this.  Instead of conversation they preach of message of condemnation that separates people.

I may not agree with Islam and it’s teaching, I do however believe that Christians need to start a conversation with other faiths.  I call this, “the handshake”.

Several days ago I had an appointment with a doctor who was of the Islamic Faith.  While sitting in his office I noticed a picture, a picture of Mecca.

MeccaWith that picture in mind I asked the doctor if he had been there yet.  You see in the Islamic faith they are taught if possible they need to make the pilgrimage to Mecca called “The Hajj”.  The doctor turned to me and asked how I knew about Mecca.  I responded that  I love learning about all different religions and faiths.

With that questioned I created a “handshake” and for the next following twenty minutes, after he closed the office door, we shared back and forth about our faiths.  During that conversation I learned Islam has a teaching similar to what Christians would call tithing, called “zakat” the third pillar of Islam.  They are taught that charity to the poor is essential.

That handshake was something to behold even for my best friend who was sitting beside me.  I had never seen the doctor with that much enthusiasm.

 Now let speak to the issue of “the fist”. That is what keeps people apart.  We hammer what is unacceptable.  We thunder sermons that they are wrong. With all that we create walls and barriers.  Somehow, we have decided that they are not worthy to hear the Gospel of “whosoever will may come”.

There are two ways to approach a person:

1. A handshake of welcome.

2. A clenched fist.

I choose the handshake.  I truly believe that is what Christ would do if He were to walk the earth today.  I extended a handshake to the little children and then to the woman caught in adultery.  He did not push them away with the fist, but rather, welcomed all with a handshake.

During these several weeks I have had the pleasure of speaking to those in Kenya, India, Russia, and many more.

If Christians are going to win this world they must put down their preconceived ideas of who we should share the Gospel with.

Christians need to open the fist and welcome people with the handshake that opens the door for conversation and witnessing.  Stop trying to clean the fish before you catch them!

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