One of the girls that I have been able to get to know in Equip training while working with GCMI has had the opportunity to befriend a Muslim woman (who I will call M in this blog). It had been difficult for her to find time for conversations with M simply because of M’s work schedule (braiding hair and selling jewelry), but through prayer and being intentional, my friend finally found the in that she had been waiting for. Without a second thought, my friend jumped on the opportunity and ended up with a hair appointment. The hope was that by having M braid her hair, there would be lots of time to talk. And time there was! Maybe you are thinking what I was thinking; that this could only last for an hour or two. However, it took seven hours for my friend to have all of her hair braided. SEVEN HOURS! This means that my friend also had seven hours to talk to and witness to M, with love and genuine interest for her life. What a spectacular opportunity!
When I first heard this story, I was struck by the beauty of it. There were no ABC Songs or Bible beatings over the head. While I know there is definitely a time and a place for teaching someone how to come to Christ, we sometimes leave it at that; instead of building a relationship first, we say, “This is how you become a Christian, now become a Christian!” But most people aren’t ready to just become a Christian. It takes time. What would have happened if my friend had told M that she was a sinner, needed to confess of her sins, renounce her idol, and pray that God would have mercy on her? Most likely, nothing. M would have stayed a Muslim, my friend would have never become M’s friend, and an opportunity would have been tragically wasted.
My friend met M right where she was, with love, kindness, and respect. Sound familiar? To me it sounds a lot like something Jesus would do and has done. He doesn’t throw scripture in our face or scream through a bullhorn that we must repent. He doesn’t hate the lost or want to see them burn for their sins. Instead, He meets them where they are and He leads them by His love, reminding them of their worth and showing them the new life that they can have only through Him. Jesus doesn’t hate M or want her to go to Hell. He loves her with a fierce passion and right now, His desire is to see her freed of the chains that keep her from His love.
My friend is building a relationship with a Muslim; a religious people that we often judge with hate and racist jokes. She isn’t shunning M or viewing her as a lost cause. She isn’t preaching to her or telling her that she must follow the ABC’s to becoming a Christian. Instead, she is saying it in a much different way. She is sharing the love of Christ with M, helping her to see that she can have assurance in her salvation. Instead of wondering if her good works have pleased Allah enough that he might give her salvation, my friend is introducing her to a love that is real and genuine; that doesn’t leave us questioning whether or not we are acceptable.