Who is my neighbour?

This past Thursday was ‘International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia.’ The day can be used, according to the Bendigo Advertiser, ‘to push the recognition of human rights for all people irrespective of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression.’ Rainbows and colour were used to raise awareness, and to show you were an ‘ally’.

The previous day was the beginning of Ramadan, the holiest month in Islam. Until the 14th of June Muslims will celebrate the month they believe Mohammad received his revelation from Allah. They will fast from both food and drink during daylight and some will travel to Mecca (the Hajj) and will strive to do good.

It’s been an important week (and will be an important month). How are followers of Christ to respond? Where do we begin?

First, we show love. Our instinct might be to disparage, mock, feel anger or threatened, but God calls us to have compassion for the lost. Some desire rights and validation, others to earn their way to paradise. How tragic both groups cannot see their greatest need.

We have much to disagree with them about, but they have been made in God’s image and likeness (Gen 1:27). Tragically this is too-easily forgotten by Christians. We see them as enemies instead of lost; problems instead of people.

Second, love leads to gospel words. One group finds their identity in their sexuality/gender identity, the other strives to earn their acceptance before God. Both groups need the gospel, just as we did. They need to know that their acceptance and identity can be found in Christ, who suffered for sinners like them and us!

These are our neighbours (Luke 10:25-37). It is no accident. So will we love our neighbours with the gospel?