This is in response to someone who opposed Mennonite Central Committee meeting with the President of Iran because he threatened Israel and because he is a "liar". Posted in the Anabaptist Network Group in Facebook:
If the Iranian president was a follower of Jesus, then we would be right to cut him off, according to I Corinthians 5. However, I Corinthians 5 has other instructions for the Iranian president-- that we are not to cut ourselves off from the world, no matter what they claim or threaten or do.
Spreading the gospel means to keep lines open with those we do not agree with, and this means listening to those whose views we find repugnant. If we do not listen, then we have no right to speak. If we are to be like Jesus, we must provide an open context, even for those we disagree with, so that we can talk about Jesus.
This is exactly what Jimmy Carter did when he invited Began and Sadat to Camp David. He remained humble (as President of the U.S!) and passed messages between them until they were ready to speak to each other. And he shared the good news of Jesus to both of them. And in that context, Anwar Sadat decided to follow Jesus as best he understood. And so he pursued peace with Israel.
To share the gospel means that we get put in uncomfortable circumstances, talking to people we might find difficult or even distasteful. My ministry is to the homeless, some of whom are theives, liars, drug dealers, etc. I have been stolen from and lied to and threatened. But that doesn't stop my relentless pursuit to love those who have harmed me.
It's just what Jesus has called us to do.