Love Your Enemies

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Ministering to Bedouin in the south of Israel.

Something amazing is happening in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza among Muslims and traditional Arab Christians. The Holy Spirit is breathing on the beginnings of a Disciple-Making Movement. There are new geographicalbased teams forming, new pioneer areas being reached, and disciples making disciples that is starting to spread across the West Bank and Gaza. Some of these areas are dangerous to say the least.

At the heart of such a move is the Great Commission, which commands us to, “teach them to observe everything I have commanded” (Matthew 28:20). One of the commands of Jesus is to “Love Your Enemy” and specifically to the Arab people group, it is the Jewish people. We have seen the Holy Spirit move in amazing ways to change their hearts in order to fulfill this command.

A group of three new Palestinian Muslim-background disciples were driving within the West Bank when as usual they were stopped at a security checkpoint by the IDF. In the past, they would complain and be embittered by the lost time waiting at checkpoints and they thoroughly despised any interrogation.

However, this time the Lord was working in all their hearts. They noticed the Jewish soldier also spoke Arabic. They began to share the love of Yesua (Yeshua) with the Jewish soldier and encouraged him to learn more about Him until he reluctantly had to get back to his guard duty. Ironically, the three Muslim-background believers in Yeshua pray to get stopped at checkpoints so they can share the love of Yeshua with Jewish soldiers – with whom they would usually never have access or contact. They are excited to love their enemies and God has given them a special love in their hearts for soldiers!

Ahmed (not his real name) is one of the team leaders and had never come in contact with Jewish people. However, now, God has been doing something in his heart towards Israelis – especially as he teaches other Arabs to love their enemies.

Recently, Ahmed was given military permission to cross an Israeli checkpoint and went on a ministry trip to Beer Sheva with an Israeli friend and teammate of his. While eating at a restaurant, the waiter asked Ahmed where he was from and he responded that he was from the West Bank. The waiter said he had been to Gaza as an IDF soldier in the last war and had lost a friend of his there. Ahmed then got up, hugged him, and with tears apologized for his friend’s death on behalf of his people. The waiter was so touched that he also was in tears.

This led to the young waiter bringing over two other Jewish Israeli waitresses to hear Ahmed’s testimony of what God had done in his heart through Yeshua. They were so open and hungry for the message of the Gospel because of the love they saw in Ahmed’s eyes towards them. The conversation continued until the manager reminded all the waiters/waitresses that they had a job to do! That night, the Holy Spirit moved in Ahmed’s heart as he wept and travailed for the salvation of the Jewish people.

“A” is a Muslim background believer who has recently come to know Yeshua. He is very passionate about sharing the gospel and making disciples of his fellow Muslims. Recently, his mother had to go to an Israeli hospital. While in the waiting area, “A” was sitting beside an Orthodox Jewish man who was in the same room as his mother. “A” then told the man his testimony and how he was once violent towards the Jewish people, but Yeshua changed his heart.

The Orthodox Jewish man, who probably wouldn’t listen to any other person tell him about Yeshua, was very interested. “A” then shared from the Old Testament scriptures about Yeshua fulfilling the role of Messiah and how he can change hearts. He gave himself as an example. The Orthodox Jewish man left and said, “You have given me a lot to think about that I never would have considered” and promised to really examine Yeshua.

It all starts with “Love Your Enemies.”

 

Sean Steckbeck with one of his young disciples.
Sean Steckbeck with one of his young disciples.

This article originally appeared in Maoz Israel Report, January 2016.