From most people's viewpoint, he had a right to feel that way. His brother was working in the Twin Towers nearly 10 years ago on Sept. 11, 2001. He made it out alive, but the attack was still way too close to home physically and emotionally for Rutledge to consider the idea of loving terrorists, or loving any Muslims for that matter.
Until Jesus showed him a different way.
"I asked myself, 'How can we possibly love the lost -- the Muslim terrorists -- who attacked my city?' Our answer should always be yes because our Jesus-centered faith demands it. Our Christian response must never resemble the world's," Rutledge said.
A heart of love for Muslims is something the International Mission Board hopes to cultivate through the new "Loving Muslims" resources, which are being released in conjunction with the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
The resources include free study guides for small groups to use for one session the week before Sept. 11, 2011, and one on the anniversary itself, as well as an eight-day prayer guide for use the week in between.
The first session focuses on loving Muslims, and the second on reaching Muslims with the Gospel. The prayer guide leads believers through praying for their Muslim neighbors and ways they can show hospitality to local Muslims.
The website, lovingmuslims.com, also includes a sermon outline for pastors to use on 9/11, feature videos, stories, photos and other resources for learning more about Islam, Muslim culture and ways to reach out to Muslims and share Jesus Christ with them.
*Name has been changed. Ava Thomas is an International Mission Board writer/editor based in Europe. For more information and free downloadable resources, visit lovingmuslims.com.
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