I often ask American Christian women this question: “What do you think when you see a woman dressed in head covering at a grocery store?” The response is often unanimous, “I think of the Muslim woman being oppressed … closed to the Gospel … hates Christians …” One person was honest enough to say, “I think maybe she is hiding a bomb under her garments.”
Then I will ask another question: “What do you think the Muslim woman sees when she walks out her door to see an American woman dressed in a tank top and shorts?”
I get a blank stare.
You see, we often see people of different cultures and religions from our vantage point, but we rarely stop to ask what they might be feeling and thinking. If I were to ask a Muslim woman what she sees when she gets dressed in the morning, she will tell me she sees a woman that is protected from exploitation. She feels that no man will treat her body as a piece of meat if it is covered. When she sees American women flaunting their bodies, she sees a lack of modesty and respect for the American woman. She sees her as exploited, cheap and used.
When we minister to Muslim women, we need to ask ourselves some very important questions:
- How does this woman view herself as she follows Islam?
- How does she view me as a follower of Christ?
- What misconceptions do I have of her and which ones does she have of me?
To minister to people of different cultures and religions, we are called to see them as they see themselves, not as we see them. We need to be students of them, their culture and religion. We need to understand their desires, aspirations and dreams.
Most importantly, we need to take off our cultural lenses and see them through the eyes of Jesus. Paul said to the Jews he became a Jew and to the Gentiles he became Gentile. Why? In order to win them to Christ! (1 Cor. 9:19-23)
This does not mean we become Muslims to win Muslims to Christ. However, it does mean we are to know where people are spiritually and emotionally so we may lead them to Christ. It means we respect them as individuals who have been created in the image of God.
How do we do that in practical ways? Here are some ways:
- Ask God to fill you with His Spirit and a love for the Muslim women in your life.
- Ask God to help you see these women as they see themselves.
- Appreciate the positive aspects of their culture: hospitality, food, language, music.
- Step into their lives and let them step into yours by inviting them to your home.
- Be bold when God opens the door for you to share the gospel with them.
- Leave the results to Christ. None of us can transform hearts and lives but God does.
We are called to be faithful as we plant and sow seeds. He took on the responsibility to make those seeds grow.
May the Lord bless you as you seek to honor Him in loving and reaching Muslim women!
More on this subject: Muslims and Islam: Key Findings in the U.S. and Around the World
Listen to this helpful workshop from Urbana 2015: Connecting with Muslim Women
Rockie Naser is a former Muslim who accepted Christ in 1998. She holds a Master of Theology (ThM) from Dallas Theological Seminary. Currently she is serving at the Southern Baptist of Texas Convention (SBTC) part-time and an MSC Missionary with NAMB part-time. You can see more from Rockie on her blog.
This was originally posted at imb.org.
Published January 13, 2016