الأربعاء، يوليو ١٢، ٢٠٠٦

A Belated Response

In this post I plan to discuss many of the points raised in the comments on “Dear Mohamed: The Original Sin and the Salvation on the Cross (partII) But before I do, I’d like to express my gratitude and appreciation to all participants, especially Mohammed and David for their demonstration of how a civil dialogue between two people of different backgrounds and faiths should look like. I will also apologise again for the delay in participating but as you all know, I was pretty much away from the blog for a while.

Also, David; Thank you for sharing the story of your friend’s adopted daughter. It’s an exquisite example of God’s love for us in spite of our sins.

I’ll try to be direct and brief…partly because of time constraints but mainly because it’s the best way to carry out a discussion. So let’s get into it, hey?!

Lust and the Effects of Images

Mohammed; as I read your comments regarding this issue I remembered a meeting that was organised in church to welcome His Holiness Pope Shenouda in one of his visits to Australia. It was a youth meeting, and the church was filled to the rafters with young people who were looking forward to listen one of HH’s lectures and perhaps get the opportunity to ask him a question.

At the end of the lecture, a collection of written questions was taken up to His Holiness. One question or rather a comment written by a young man spoke of how some young Coptic girls are starting to wear inappropriate clothes to church (short skirts or tight clothing). You know what the first thing His holiness said?

He didn’t miss a beat….he immediately said “So why are you looking?” (طيب يابنى انت بتبصلهم ليه؟)
We all laughed!! Then His Holiness continued to say that of course the house of God deserves respect and that women or men entering the house of God need to respect the sanctity of this house…and even when you’re not in church, you treat your body as a sacred gift from God and not a tool to satisfy your vanity.


The responsibility rests with each one of us to ensure we steer clear of sin. Sin exists in all walks of life. You speak of Islam not only prohibiting the sinful act…but also the means to it. I understand what you mean…its like not only prohibiting alcohol, but also selling it even if you yourself don’t drink it.

Christianity doesn’t know “haram” and “halal” (prohibited and allowed). Christianity teaches us that there are things that befit our status as the children of God and things that don’t. The Bible teaches us:

«كُلُّ الأَشْيَاءِ تَحِلُّ لِي»، لكِنْ لَيْسَ كُلُّ الأَشْيَاءِ تُوافِقُ. «كُلُّ الأَشْيَاءِ تَحِلُّ لِي»، لكِنْ لاَ يَتَسَلَّطُ عَلَيَّ شَيْءٌ. 13الأَطْعِمَةُ لِلْجَوْفِ وَالْجَوْفُ لِلأَطْعِمَةِ، وَاللهُ سَيُبِيدُ هذَا وَتِلْكَ. وَلكِنَّ الْجَسَدَ لَيْسَ لِلزِّنَا بَلْ لِلرَّبِّ، وَالرَّبُّ لِلْجَسَدِ.

12"Everything is permissible for me"—but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible for me"—but I will not be mastered by anything. 13"Food for the stomach and the stomach for food"—but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. (1Cor 6:12-14)

You can tell a small child “Do NOT touch the stove”

When they get a bit older, you can then explain to them why they shouldn’t:
“Don’t touch the hot stove because you’ll burn yourself”

But you don’t even need to tell an adult not to touch a hot stove because they know through experience or learning what the result is.

Back before the Age of Grace, before our Lord saved us on the cross, humanity was in its spiritual infancy. There were things that were prohibited and things that were allowed. After the salvation, we are freed from the burden of death and sin (by death I mean life away from God…life in sin)…we can grow in grace and strengthen our spirit in God.

We grow in spirit so that we can live in this world but not let the sins and lusts of the world into our hearts. Impossible you might say? Not when you have the power of God’s love by your side. We submit ourselves, our will and our hearts to God and He turns our weakness into strength.

We know what is not befitting for our bodies, mind and spirit…and we know what the consequence of sin is. That young Copt in church knows that Jesus Christ says:

28وَأَمَّا أَنَا فَأَقُولُ لَكُمْ: إِنَّ كُلَّ مَنْ يَنْظُرُ إِلَى امْرَأَةٍ لِيَشْتَهِيَهَا، فَقَدْ زَنَى بِهَا فِي قَلْبِهِ.
مت 5: 28
28But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart

True, those girls shouldn’t wear inappropriate clothes in church…but he looked…and that was his responsibility!

In a previous post I mentioned a verse from the Bible that I love so much:

20هَئَنَذَا وَاقِفٌ عَلَى \لْبَابِ وَأَقْرَعُ. إِنْ سَمِعَ أَحَدٌ صَوْتِي وَفَتَحَ \لْبَابَ، أَدْخُلُ إِلَيْهِ وَأَتَعَشَّى مَعَهُ وَهُوَ مَعِي
Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me.
Revelation 3:20

God cleanses us only when we submit to Him…when we open our hearts and accept Him.

Yes I know I said I’d be brief, and here I spent a whole post talking about one point…I can’t help myself!! Now you know why I haven’t had time to respond before, lol.

Back with more soon.
God’s Peace and Blessings be With You,


Blogger Carolanne said...

I liked the way you put this, Bent.
Thanks for saying it the way you did. :)
I'm glad you're blogging again - I have missed you.

يوليو ١٥, ٢٠٠٦  
Blogger Bent El Neel said...

Hi Carolanne
Thank you for visiting :)
I'm also glad I'm back. Work has taken so much more than it has given over the past month...I don't like that...which makes me think I gotta do something about it.
PLease pray for me, as I am about to make an important decision. Watch this space for more details, LOL! but seriously need the prayers.

By the way, I've been visiting your blog to stay in touch. Sorry, just never had the opportunity to actually comment there!

يوليو ١٦, ٢٠٠٦  
Blogger CMinor said...

Well put. I would add that the amount of clothing one wears is affected by climate and culture as well as standards of modesty; in some places Christians may wear very little and be as chaste or more so as they are anywhere else. Their dress is not done to incite lust, and among themselves it does not. If someone else has a problem, well, it's not their problem.
Chastity is a matter of behavior and comes from within; not a set of rules dictating how much skin should be covered. For some people, no amount would be enough. Others can walk through an indigenous jungle village and never have an evil thought.
If your young ladies were wearing their skirts too short out of ignorance or youthful thoughtlessness, that is a very different thing than if they were doing it to be provocative. Certainly they need correction, but not for impurity.

يوليو ١٧, ٢٠٠٦  
Blogger Bent El Neel said...

Thenk you for the input. You're absolutely right, it brings to mind what a Brazillian friend once told us. He said that foriegners think Brazillian women are immoral because they dress so very "provocatively"...but in truth, the way they dress means very little to them and to Brazillian men as well.

Brazillian men don't consider the way the women dress an indication or invitation to leer, stare...let alone touch!!!

As for your comment regarding the young Coptic girls, like you say the way one dresses will be affected by the cultural standards. And to an Egyptian community there is an expectation that a girl will dress modestly especially in the church. I agree with you that it has nothing to do with them being "impure" though.

يوليو ١٧, ٢٠٠٦  

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