The common question surrounding the recent deaths of the 10 Christian medical missions team members in Afghanistan has not been, “Why would anyone murder those who are trying to help?” but rather, “Did this team have ulterior motives of sharing Jesus?”
This comes amidst Taliban claims that these members were trying to convert Muslims to Christianity as a justification for their actions.
This has led to investigations into the motives of the relief organization, International Assistance Mission (IAM), amidst adamant declarations from IAM that the team had no evangelistic intent.
It remains to be seen whether the team intended to share the good news of Jesus with those they were serving, but what if they were? What if they were there to spread the love of Christ not just in deed but in word, namely by sharing Jesus with others?
Does that warrant their deaths? Does that justify their murders?
Colin Hansen recently commented on this on his blog:
Even non-Christians will grant that the men and women who lost their lives for treating eyes demonstrated their love for Afghans in their good works. But love turns to imperialism when eye camp gives way to Bible school. Evangelism is perceived as arrogant disregard, even hatred, for the Afghans or anyone else who does not yet believe in Jesus Christ for salvation. Death Penalty for Evangelism
What Hansen points out explains the indignation not at the Taliban for the murder of these people, but over the presumed intentions of Christians going into an area like Afghanistan.
Now Christians should not be surprised at this response. After all, Jesus Himself committed no wrong and yet was betrayed, beaten, mocked, humiliated and left to die on a cross. Jesus even pointed out that we as followers should expect the world to receive us the same way.
Christians should not be surprised. But they should be aware.
“If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you. If you were of the world, the world would love you as its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.” -John 15:18-20