With the chaos raging in the Middle East, much of it due to terrorist groups who call themselves “Islamic radicals” or “Islamic extremists,” how should followers of Jesus respond? Do we know how to interact with our Muslim friends and neighbors with newspapers and televisions blaring about “jihad” and the slaughter of innocent people? (Statistics reveal that Christian persecution is higher than it’s ever been.) The truth is, conversation can be awkward if we are uninformed and uneducated about the context, so let’s take a minute and change that…
Changing the “Us vs. Them” Mentality
Yes, Christians need to stand in unity with the Word of God, which means we also need to learn how to be compassionate towards others and open to the Lord’s call on everyone’s life, believers and unbelievers alike. We need to learn to carry the mindset and posture that Jesus had towards those that didn’t know him. Part of being compassionate is educating ourselves to understand the major differences and similarities.
One thing to consider is that most Muslims do not support the actions of ISIS, just as the majority of Christians do not condone the actions of the Westboro Baptist Church or other “radical” Christian groups. Another reality is that alongside Christians, a tremendous number of Muslim communities are also being persecuted by the extremist terrorist groups. In this day and age, many Muslims are just as afraid as the rest of the world is. This is where you can step in and share Jesus, the man who makes us brave and compels us to ask “Death where is your sting?! Pain where is your victory?!”
10 Tips for Talking with Muslims
Whether by divine set-up or a curious seeker, some of us are greeted with the opportunity to connect with and pray for Muslims. Our end goal is not to control what they think or manipulate their beliefs, but to present them with the Gospel. It is ultimately an individual’s choice to walk down the narrow road with Jesus. Here are 10 tips for talking with those of the Islam faith:
- Don’t insult the prophet Muhammad.
- Do pray out loud with your Muslim friends. Ask if you can pray for their practical needs, healing, and worries. Look for opportunities to pray in Jesus’ name.
- Don’t start your prayer with “Our Father…” because Muslims have a misunderstanding about the fatherhood of God (as sexual). Wait until you correct this misunderstanding before using “Father” or “Abba.” At first address your prayer to “Almighty God” or “Lord God.”
- Do make it clear you are a follower of Christ, by your loving words and righteous lifestyle.
- Do take time to build a relationship. Practice hospitality.
- Don’t be surprised if you are rejected at first. If offering gifts, it is best to offer Muslim friends store-bought sweets and to avoid anything with pork or alcohol.
- Do approach your encounters as a learner. Ask questions.
- Do correct their misunderstandings of your beliefs.
- Don’t argue. If they want to debate with a Christian, refer them to the website. www.debate.org.
- Do talk about Jesus. Use his title, Isa Al Masih.
For all 22 “Tips for Talking with Muslims” and for more tips like why you should take your shoes off when entering a home or place of prayer, download a copy of our Islam & Christianity pamphlet.
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