“Don’t you want me to become a Christian?” It was a question thrown out like an accusation. “I want you to become a Muslim.”
“No. I don’t want you to become a Christian. I want you to know God fully and worship Him.” My husband’s reply was a surprise.
This older man was ready to argue with my husband on any point he brought up. He enjoyed arguing. He enjoyed being the one with the answers, with the winning points. We were sitting in his home, surrounded by his family. If he was going to argue, he would need to win.
My husband didn’t want to be drawn into a debate. He didn’t want to win an argument.
He wanted God to win our friend’s heart.
There are times for theological discussion, for making a well-reasoned argument for the Cross. We know people who do this well.
Yet even then, we still need to focus on the person sitting before us. We can’t focus on the argument and lose sight of the eternal soul right before us.
When we discuss theology, we want to do so in a way to increase knowledge about who God is and open the door for the words of life. In speaking God’s Word, let it be with the purpose of letting the Living Word pierce the heart and bring salvation. In moments of sharing literature, may our motivation be that the truth will seen and life will be received.
If we do these things to win an argument or prove a point, we will very well lose a soul.
Note to My Younger Self
There are many books and strategies for reaching Muslims: how to share your faith, to make connections with the Qu’ran, to share certain biblical passages. I have read books and I have attended training seminars–and I have appreciated the information. I have appreciated hearing from people who are passionate about sharing truth with Muslims.
Confession: Sometimes gathering knowledge can get a bit overwhelming.
If I could tell my younger self an encouragement about reaching Muslims it would be this:
- Treasure God’s Word in your heart, not as a means of making a point, but out of love for His Word and truth. Know why you believe your salvation lies in Christ but don’t stress about dictating it like an academic journal.
- Read books and examples about loving Muslims and sharing our faith with them. Read these books as encouragement and learn from the examples. Let these spur you on to good deeds. But don’t think that all of your encounters will mirror these.
- Focus on loving others. Love people made in the image of God, people who do not know their sins are forgiven, their lives are redeemed, their shame removed, their honor restored, their debt paid, and their eternity secure.
- When you get tired of loving people (because that happens sometimes), focus on loving God.
REACHING MUSLIMS: Gotta get it right?
When I think about needing to share my faith in a particular way, I can feel the pressure to get it all right.
There are many methods of evangelism. Some work better with different people groups and worldviews. There are ways of communicating gospel truths with language that helps break down barriers and speak into the needs of the heart. I appreciate understanding these viewpoints. I want my words to tear down barriers and let the truth enter in.
The Goal that Keeps You from the Goal
At the same time, tactics and methods can become a barrier to actually sharing love and truth. I could focus on reaching Muslims if I have the correct methodology and phrasing. Or I could memorize certain answers to questions and certain flaws in the Qu’ran. I could make sure I know all the reasons for why I’m right and why he or she is wrong.
And ultimately these tactics and methods would keep me from loving anyone.
If the tools can help you, use them. If they distract you from the person right in front of you, put them aside.
For some of us, loving our Muslim neighbor might mean approaching people on the street to share words of life and pray for strangers. Or it might mean meeting to read the Bible together. For others of us, loving our Muslim neighbor might mean praying over a friend who just lost a baby. Maybe there will be instances of miraculous healing. Or perhaps there will be years of faithful friendship. You may have discussions about what the text says and what is really truth.
May all of our gospel efforts stem from love.