We never know how much time we have with someone. My friend Khadijah was kind and generous, a devoted Muslim, mother, and wife. We often had tea together in her elegant home, gathering in close around a table laden with cakes and olives, cheese and fruit.
We danced at weddings and fixed one another’s hair for fancy parties. In the midst of all these times together, we talked about Jesus. She asked me questions, and I asked her questions. We did not always agree. But we met each other in the common place of quality time spent together, and a bridge was slowly built to the gospel.
One day on my way out of town, I dropped in to say goodbye. She was not feeling well that day, and strange dark patches had formed on her arms and legs. Alarmed, I promised to talk to my own doctor about it and see what medicine I could get for her.
While I was away, Khadijah died.
Khadija never knelt with me and prayed for Jesus to be the Lord of her life. But I did have the great privilege of seeing her eyes sparkle with joy upon hearing that Jesus’ name had the power to protect her. I witnessed an increased curiosity and desire in her to know more about the God who loves her. I had the honor of praying regularly for her and her family.
In her final moments, did she call out to Jesus? I do not know. But I can know with certainty that the questions I asked in the context of friendship showed her the way.
We do not know how much time we have with our Muslim friends. Perhaps it is a short ride across the city in a taxi. Maybe it is your neighbor, who remains hidden away in her house, afraid of the influence of Western culture. Or it could be a boss, an employee, a fellow student only with us for a year, a semester, a limited season. Whatever the case, we have been given the gift of time to give Muslims a chance at the life, love, and mercy found in Jesus Christ.
Preparing Our Hearts
In his book Connecting with Muslims, Fouad Masri reminds us that when building bridges to the gospel, love is always our starting point. Seeing them as fellow image-bearers, made in the image of God, loved by Him and sought after, will position our hearts to reach out in sincere love.
Meeting our friends where they are, not where we wish they were in their thinking, is vital. Arguments and debates often shroud God’s love and set both parties on the defensive. The bridge-building approach, however, utilizes similarities to communicate truth and help your friend move to a new understanding of God’s love for him or her.
Praying for our friends and the time we spend together is another important step to effectively sharing God’s love with them. Understanding truth is the work of the Holy Spirit. God will guide both us and our listeners as we talk about the wonderful good news of Jesus Christ.
So how do we get from talking about coffee and Muhammed to talking about the gospel? Here are some key questions to start your conversation in that direction.
Five Bridges to the Gospel
- How do you know what you believe is true?
- What if you are wrong?
- Have you read the Injeel (New Testament)?
- Who do you think Jesus is?
- How are we going to heaven?
Each of these questions provides a springboard to a deeper examination of the truth found in the Bible. As a follower of Jesus, you already know the answers to these questions. If you are unsure, take some time yourself to dig deeper into God’s Word and equip your mind for a meaningful conversation with your Muslim friend. Ask yourself these questions first, then answer them in Scripture study. The more in touch you are with the gospel, the more readily it will flow from your heart into your relationships and conversations.
Key questions can help build bridges to the gospel with the Muslims in our lives. Our destination is the good news that Christ has come to replace shame with honor, guilt with righteousness, and fear with power. If we know what to ask, we can help our friends reach the truth.
One Final Question
One final question for you. Does your Muslim friend know you are a Christian? Don’t be afraid to walk openly with Christ in front of him or her. Muslims deserve an authentic, loving witness of Christ. May you be that witness today.
- Take a Bridges course to give you a basic understanding of Islam and what it means to be an ambassador for Christ to Muslims.
- Spend regular time reading and studying Scripture, filling your heart and mind with ready truth for conversations with the Muslims you know.
- Read Fouad Masri’s book, Connecting With Muslims to learn how to better communicate effectively.