Friday, 20 January 2017

To say "Jesus" or not


She asked me, "How are you able to do all these - this (referring to my blog that I had just shown her), your music, and academics and yet you're so energic every time?". She was asking, like many people have asked, how I'm able to have it all together considering the diverse things I've got my hands into. Usually, I just smile this question away, but her case was different. She was persistent. She really wanted to know.  
It occurred to me that this could be an opportunity to share my faith with her. But I didn't want to throw it in her face. I wanted it to come out more naturally.  
"How do you do it? You know you're a role model", she was still probing me for answers. The testimonies of those that would say "Jesus" at this point came to mind. But it didn't feel quite natural to say it just like that. Like I needed to lead her to Jesus, right? not throw the name Jesus at her. I thought of saying God but instead said,  " Emmm.. it's grace". Feeling the ambiguity of my response, I promptly added, "God's grace".  
"God?", she was quite surprised. "Like is it your beliefs...?"
"My faith. I'm a Christian" 
She seemed to begin to understand. 
I asked, " are you a Christian?"
"No I'm Muslim." 
I smiled. "Ok. Like people from **** (her country) are mostly Muslim right?" 
"Well, we have different religions. We have Islam, Christians, even Aramaic, the origin of Christians... But what is practiced is different from what true Islam is. True Islam treats women equal..." 
Surprised to hear that, I was quick to say, "Really?, I thought Islam subjugated women" 
"True Islam is what I was brought up with and taught. That men and women have equal rights. They have equal access to education." 
"I thought Islam was the Hijab, pray 5 times a day..." 
"It is practiced differently in different places. We believe in God and the prophet". 
"Have you been to the mosque since you came to UK?" 
"No. I didn't go to mosque when I was in ****. Mosque is for men...There is a difference between what is written and what is practiced. You see people bombing themselves". 
"Why do they do that?" 
"There are extremists in every religion. Even in Christianity in ****". 
"Christianity is different", I said, "It is not a religion". 
"I know. It is a lifestyle", she replied, "true Islam is a lifestyle". 
At this point our break was over and we got back to our class work.  
(The words of this conversation might not have been written verbatim but this captures the essence of what was discussed.) 
Reflecting on this: 
Is it possible that I missed a great opportunity to witness Jesus to her? Here she was, really desperate to know. The opportunity was right there at my feet. I should have said Jesus and left the Holy Spirit to work the rest in her life. I was logically reasoning how mentioning Jesus would lead her to Christ. Or maybe I was ashamed of mentioning the name Jesus to her in class. Or maybe afraid of being seen as witnessing (like depicted in the movie - God's not dead 2). 
But why should I be ashamed of Christ? He said if I am ashamed of Him then He will be ashamed of me before the Father on the last day (Luke 9:26). Why should I be afraid to give life to people? If I believe Jesus is really the reason for my energy, why don't I want to share Him? If He is the author and source of life, and here is someone looking for life, why would I hoard that knowledge? This is about sharing truth, not about a religious exercise of evangelism.  
Dear Lord, please give me a second chance.
And this time help me not to blow it. 
©Radiant~ January 2017
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