There is a story running through news media. They are beside themselves. Is it glee or rage? Who knows? What is remarkable is that the news media has found Christians they can hold up as bigots, Christians who speak of book burning — burning the Koran.
Here is a mild example of the story, Dove World church plan for Koran burning triggers counterprotests.
Do Christians have the right to burn the Koran? If we are willing to waste our own money on such a project, it seems that we do. If we burn a copy of the Koran, and it angers Muslims, would we be responsible for the results? The law would say no, but what would God think?
How should Christians react when others refused our faith and insult us — when others believe something we think wrong? There is no simple answer, but the Bible prescribes only the mildest insult. We don’t persecute unbelievers or desecrate their “holy” objects. We do something most people find far more objectionable. We pity them.
Imagine you lived when Jesus walked the earth. Throughout the land the Savior has performed miracles, and He sends his apostles out to preach to the people of Israel. Imagine you are of Israel, and one of his apostles comes to your village. What if you had refused to listen?
Matthew 10:5-15 (Today’s New International Version)
These twelve Jesus sent out with the following instructions: “Do not go among the Gentiles or enter any town of the Samaritans. Go rather to the lost sheep of Israel. As you go, proclaim this message: ‘The kingdom of heaven has come near.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received, freely give.
“Do not get any gold or silver or copper to take with you in your belts—no bag for the journey or extra shirt or sandals or a staff, for workers are worth their keep. Whatever town or village you enter, search for some worthy person there and stay at that person’s house until you leave. As you enter the home, give it your greeting. If the home is deserving, let your peace rest on it; if it is not, let your peace return to you. If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. Truly I tell you, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town.
Jesus told the apostles to shake the dust of their feet in protest. The Kingdom of God had come near, and here were people who refused to listen! Then the apostles were to depart and tell others who still needed to hear — others who would listen.
The apostles did not take any form of vengeance. Neither we nor the apostles have the right to judge or take vengeance on another human being. As the Bible says more than once, vengeance is not for us; it belongs to the Lord.