December 27, 2013
Throughout 2013, "Anna" has written posts for the PersecutionBlog about friendship, culture, and Kingdom-living from her home in the Middle East. We have re-posted some of these blogs during this Christmas week. In this final post in the Moving Toward Muslims series, Anna challenges us to take what we've learned and put it into action.
In this year’s Moving Toward Muslims series, we’ve discussed ways to relate with Muslim individuals in a way befitting Christ’s followers. Instead of harboring hatred or holding at arm’s length, we’ve talked about ways to take a step forward in relationship with Muslims.
In February, we saw how initiating friendship can disarm a Muslim’s wariness. In March, we considered keeping a Name Notebook because you and I might be the only intercessor praying for our Muslim acquaintances. We discussed how you could offer hospitality to Muslims…without knowing one Arabic recipe! All of these are ways we can move toward Muslims.
Still, the primary way I see God transforming Muslims is through the sincere and sacrificial love of His children. “I’ve never met anyone like you!” Muslims sometimes exclaim to me. The love that naturally flows from a follower of Jesus is out of the ordinary to Muslims. Others-first, no-strings-attached Jesus love is not only disarming, it’s inviting.
“By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35, NKJV). When we demonstrate love to Muslims, particularly within the context of Christian community, they experience the love of Christ and what it could look like to follow him. It has been said that a Muslim needs to be “loved into the Kingdom.”
What does it look like to love a Muslim? It looks like…
- Exhibiting patience when they show up late.
- Going the extra mile to meet a need they’ve expressed.
- Not being easily provoked when they say something offensive.
- Bearing with their diet restrictions.
- Believing God can change even the hardest heart.
- Enduring persecution or ridicule as you explain the Gospel.
As the last post in the Moving Toward Muslims series, it begs the question: What are we going to do about what we’ve learned?
If you take Jesus’ teaching seriously, I hope you will take a step toward those he loves so much. This could include educating yourself about Islam, but beware: Never substitute supposed “book knowledge” for the value of learning from a living, breathing soul who identifies himself or herself as Muslim.
If you choose to move toward Muslims, there will be times you stumble for words. You will make some dead-wrong assumptions and some fantastic cultural blunders. This is certain. But what is also certain is that in the midst of your fumbling, what your Muslim friend will see is love.
He will see a person without all the answers, but with deep wisdom he respects. He will notice the open door, the gift given, and the community surrounding. His eyes will see your well-used Bible, his ears will hear your heartfelt prayer, and his hands will feel your warmth.
Some would say Muslims must be loved into the Kingdom. But who will be the ones to extend that love? Will you?
Your Turn: How has this series affected your thoughts toward Muslims? Are there any steps you plan to take as a result?
Anna loves Jesus and wants to see Him cherished by her neighbors and people everywhere. Anna is a pseudonym, and all names in her posts are changed for security reasons.