Wednesday, September 30, 2015


"Yes, I try to find common ground with everyone so that I might bring them to Christ.” I Corinthians 9: 22b

We were invited to a summer fun event at a large refugee housing complex. Everywhere I looked I saw fully clad Muslim women and girls. Modesty in clothing attire for the Muslim woman is mandated and often monitored by others whether her body is covered sufficiently. The level of modesty or lack of it usually communicates if she is reflecting being "a good Muslim". To us all that fabric might be perceived as oppression but to them it is a code of honor. It is her duty to uphold the honor of her husband, Islam, and the reputation of her family. She is taking all precautions necessary to communicate purity and honor. Since her initial understanding is that western nations are Christian and she sees so many women showing a lot of skin, hair, cleavage and curves the assumption is that Christian women  must not be moral.

I will never forget the day when a Pakistani woman in the village pointed to my elbow which was not covered and remarked that was bad. To her a bare elbow reflected immodesty and questionable character. Cultural accommodations with my dress had to be implemented or my spiritual message would not have been understood. I was willing to sacrifice some of my dress freedoms. It wasn’t really so much a personal choice or even done out of deep love. It simply was a given. When in Rome do as the Romans do.  I desired that the name of Christ be lifted up honorably and would go to almost any extent to be sure His name was not maligned.

Then God redirected me to my homeland to engage with Muslim women.  I was "no longer in Rome". I realized that if I was going to reach Muslim women in my own country and the majority of them are dressed conservatively I would need to dress modestly with not too much skin showing or I would not get a hearing for the gospel. 

How does one even define modesty? Muslim women define it. Generally speaking Christian women do not.  A Muslim woman will say Islam is easy because it legislates, defines, dictates, and in some cases enforces clearly what is not permissible or permissible.  I have been set free from living under law and desire to live by grace. What do grace and freedom look like in the context of cross cultural evangelism?  Upon return to my homeland I began asking many questions. One thing I have discovered is that it takes a long time for a practicing conservative Muslim woman to understand the gospel even when I am dressed modestly – but if I am not then it could take forever – or maybe never. The message of the cross is already an offense but if I am not dressed somewhat modestly(according to their understanding) then there is a double offense. Yes, I would make that personal choice and some sacrifice for the sake of the gospel to get a quicker and clearer hearing no matter what. It has been worth it because I love Muslim women whom God has called me to share the Good News of Jesus with.

Dear heavenly Father, I am resolved from a heart of love to do whatever it will take to bring Muslim women to Jesus Christ, Amen.