Yesterday I read the newspaper report of Muslim residents shielding Christians as they were fleeing the city of Marawi.
My heart was warmed by the news as I recalled a similar incident some 1400 BC in the city of Jericho.
Two spies dispatched by Joshua to check out Jericho were spotted. But an unlikely resident named Rahab, a prostitute shielded them. She hid them under the roof of her house. She deflected the soldiers who came to check her premises. She did a brave thing. She is a Canaanite woman who gave her life and limb to save the two Israelite spies. And for that, she was honoured in the hall of faith.
“By faith the prostitute Rahab, because she welcomed the spies, was not killed with those who were disobedient” Hebrews 11:31.
Just so two Muslim residents of Marawi need worthy mention.
One is a traditional clan leader and well-known former politician named Mr Lucman. He sheltered 71 people, including more than 50 Christians in his home during the battle that erupted on May 23.
The other is a Marawi resident named Ms Paccon who gave refuge to 54 people in her home, including 44 Christians.
Both Mr Lucman and Ms Paccon shielded the terrified Christians when militant fighters came knocking on their doors.
After they received text messages warning of a bombing campaign on that city, they planned their exodus.
Needless to say, it was a dangerous escape plan for they were within 100m of the militant command posts. They had “to pass through a lot of snipers.” They marched nervously holding white flags.
When were stopped and asked if there were any Christians among them, they shouted the Muslim rallying cry, “Allahu Akbar,” which means “God is great.”
That day, more than 160 civilians walked out of the besieged city of Marawi. And it is because of the brave act of those Muslim residents.
It says to me, God is great simply because God is love. And love is stronger than hate.
Surely that must be the message to a world torn by hate and perpetrators of hate.
“Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love” (I John 4:8).