You cannot be my disciple, unless you love me more than you love your father and mother, your wife and children, and your brothers and sisters. You cannot come with me unless you love me more than you love your own life. (Luke 14:25-27 CEV)
These words are tough. Not many of us have to live them the way believers from a Muslim background do.
Love and peace in Christianity
Sadik*, a young Palestinian in his late twenties, told us that he thanked the Lord for putting us in his path to guide him to the truth. He told us that he was terribly afraid of his family. He was afraid that his family would break apart because of his spiritual journey. In spite of this, he wanted to continue exploring the Christian faith.
Our responder asked Sadik why he wanted to become a Christian. Sadik replied:
I am no longer convinced of Islam. I studied the Bible and I found that in Christianity there is love and peace, unlike in Islam. So I want to live from now on in peace.
Sadik accepted Christ during his exchange with the responder and agreed to meet with local believers.
Sadik’s fears are quite common. In fact, it would have been quite surprising if he’d had no concerns about the way his family would react.
The overwhelming majority of Muslims would respond negatively if a relative were to leave Islam. It would be shocking and, in their eyes, it would bring shame on the family.
There are, of course, different degrees of response that parents and siblings make when a family member leaves Islam. Occasionally, family members are indifferent rather than hostile, and sometimes one family member may be more understanding than the rest. But the more common responses include: bullying, threats, ex-communication, abuse, violence, restriction of freedom, imprisonment and expulsion. In some situations the physical threat is so very real that individuals feel compelled either to hide their beliefs or to leave their location. As you will imagine, this is very painful and isolating.
Thanks to the power of modern communication, no one seeking the truth needs to do it alone and unaided. There are loads of different ways for people to get in touch with a real person who will listen to their story and help them work things through.
Arab World Media has developed proven strategies for reaching the right audience with a message they are ready to hear. Our responders are at hand to hear people’s stories, pray with them and counsel them, and we have contacts in many cities who can meet people in person and encourage them in their walk of faith.
It is our prayer that God’s own command, Do not be afraid, would embolden those who are hesitant in their decision to follow Christ due to fear of rejection. Please join us in praying that many would overcome this obstacle. And pray that we would continue to be effective in drawing in those who are eager to find the truth and know the God of Love.
*Name has been changed.