Saturday, October 10, 2015

Passing the Purity Test

We have proved ourselves by our purity…..2 Corinthians 6:6a
In many Canadian churches if you want to be involved with children, youth, or vulnerable adults you will be required to first attend Plan to Protect training in order to prevent abuse and lessen the chance of legal action being taken in case of allegations. Sometimes we resist meeting such requirements. If we don’t comply, we will not be permitted to serve. 
When it comes to being engaged in ministry among Muslim women, Islam has its own ‘plan to protect’. In conservative homes the man of the house is the ‘authority’ who ultimately gives permission if we can befriend his wife. According to the Qur’an(4:34) a Muslim man is the manager or maintainer of protecting his wife. We may not like this plan or agree with it but if we want to befriend Muslim women we will need to understand their religious and cultural method of putting protective measures in place.  Once we do, we will have permission and a tremendous sense of freedom in visiting his wife. If the Muslim woman is secular this plan to protect(guard) her may not be as stringent.
We have to pass what I call the ‘moral screening test’. Muslim men are concerned that non-Muslim women will adversely influence their wives by how we dress or by our conduct and activities. Generally speaking Muslim men fear their wives will become too independent and not respect them or listen to them. We should not be surprised if a conservatively dressed woman would decline an invitation to visit our home.  It is better to pay a visit to Fatima’s home with your husband first when you can meet the whole family or to have them over. If you are single he will want to observe what kind of woman you appear to be. While that first visit is going on we are being screened whether we appear moral or religious. To them that means we would be a safe influence for his wife. Once the assessment has been made by the husband who is in charge of managing his wife and we have passed the test then we will have permission to visit freely. Wise is the Christian woman who will not balk at this ‘requirement’ but will understand its importance for higher purposes.   
I have gone through this moral screening test often. It is an excellent opportunity to reveal purity! It is important to give the man of the house respect and dispel any misgivings he might have about moral character. As a result the invitation for friendship with his wife is given. However, it does not always happen. One day I met a Muslim woman at the mailboxes outside and conversed briefly with her. She told me the number of her unit. Later I baked a cake and went over to her unit. She disappeared upstairs while the husband ushered me to the living room where I conversed for 45 very long awkward minutes waiting for his wife to come down. But he did not give permission for his wife to come down.  I left the cake there and returned home disappointed. In this case it was more than a moral screening test. 
Dear heavenly Father, let my purity be unquestioned.  In Jesus’ name, Amen.