Saturday, May 15, 2010

One Face

“What this means is that those who become Christians become new persons…” II Cor. 5:17

Amira, a widow with many children, decided to follow Isa Al Masih. She lives in North America. She has floundered around for years trying to figure out her identity. When she is at church she calls herself ‘Christian’ and acts/thinks/prays like one. When she is with her Muslim community she reverts back to dressing and thinking of herself as ‘Muslim’. She continues to believe in both the Qur’an and the Bible. She keeps the Ramadan fast because she can’t handle the pressure of monitoring phone calls from Muslims. Inside she reasons it out she is doing a Christian fast. She doesn’t teach her children Bible truths because her Muslim friends insist they have to be raised Muslim. The children’s best friends are Muslims and often they go to the mosque for sports and teachings. They don’t want to go to Sunday School and she doesn’t force them to. If you would ask her children if their mother is a Muslim or Christian they would say they don’t know. She constantly appears to live in a state of confusion and conflict. She is walking on two tracks and going nowhere. She has developed two faces. In discipling a new believer like Amira, it is important to give her time to find her way but also to encourage her to have one face. She will grow best and be at peace when she finally has one face. We don’t want her to be cut off from Muslim friends or healthy customs and traditions. But she will need to come to grips with having one faith if she is to grow into a healthy mature follower of Jesus. When I see a woman disturbed with two faces I like to use an object lesson which uses two Ukrainian nesting dolls. They are beautifully hand-painted in a set of five; each one nestled inside the other in varying sizes. They can be ordered over the Internet or from a Ukrainian/Russian craft store. It is a powerful illustration of two faces.

The two nesting doll sets shouldn’t look the same. You can find dolls that actually look Muslim with a hijab! I call one doll ‘Fatima #1’ who is a Muslim and the other doll ‘Fatima #2’ who has become a Christian. I make all the little dolls inside of ‘Fatima #2’ to appear like Fatima #1. The little ones are her children. When Fatima is with the Muslims she looks/acts/talks like a Muslim and when she is with the Christians she looks/acts/talks like a Christian. Now open Fatima #2 slowly….whoops, on the outside she looks and talks like a Christian, but really in the inside she looks/acts/thinks like a Muslim. Then keep opening the other smaller dolls inside of her. Behold! The little children all appear to be Muslims. Your friend will show a shocked expression. She will know what you are saying. She will recognize it describes her dilemma. If she has two faces her children will be confused and will essentially stay Muslim. God’s desire is to make her whole so that inside and outside(and her children) will all be on one track. She may have to walk a more complicated journey if her husband is strongly against her decision to follow Jesus. Each case is different. Regardless of the situation each woman will need to be helped and guided by you on her journey of developing one face.

Dear heavenly Father, please show me if I have two faces. In Jesus' name, Amen.