Muslim Background Believers Share Experience During Ramadan
Adam took a deep breath and as he and his wife, Eva, pulled up to his mom’s house. Today was Idul Fitri, the last day of Ramadan. This was supposed to be one of the best days of the year where they celebrate the end of the fasting month with family.
They used to enjoy this day, visiting family and eating good food. But this year was different. They were the outcasts of their family now. Instead of family greeting and welcoming them, they distanced and shamed them. This was the price Adam and Eva paid for becoming followers of Jesus.
As Muslim background believers, Adam and Eva experience persecution. They were secret believers for a while. But after telling their families they were no longer Muslims, they wanted nothing to do with them. For many years, their families didn’t speak to them.
But this year, Adam’s mom surprisingly invited them for Idul Fitri. They knew relationships would be strained as they had brought so much shame to their family. It would be easier to never interact with them again and run away from the persecution. But Adam and Eva wanted to share the love of Jesus with their family.
The Good News
After Adam and Eva came to faith, they rejoiced that God had broken the chains of bondage in their life. Islam blinded them for most of their lives making them believe they had to do enough good works to erase their sin. Slowly they realized that would never be enough to get them to heaven.
God brought followers of Jesus in their lives who shared how Jesus came to restore us back to God. He paid the debt we could never pay by His perfect life, death and resurrection. After hearing the Good News, they trusted in Jesus for the forgiveness of their sins. Their lives were forever changed.
Adam and Eva’s hearts break for their families. They see that they are lost with no hope. God gave them the gift of salvation and they wanted to offer that to their family members as well.
As they walked into the house, they received cold stares and hushed voices. Some people greeted them awkwardly while others ignored them. As the celebrations continued, they felt left out by the way they were treated.
During this holiday, everyone asks forgiveness from one another (sungkem). When someone asks forgiveness from their parents, it is always an emotional experience. Everyone cries when they bow before their parents to honor them. However, Adam’s mom didn’t even allow him to do that this year because of the great shame he brought to his family.
Jesus Said This Would Happen
Adam and Eva grieve the fact that they bring shame to their families. But they would never turn back from following Jesus. They expected this to happen for Jesus said:
“Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I have come to turn ‘a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law—a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.'” Matthew 10:34-36
As they left the family get together that night and drove home on the motorbike, Adam prayed. “Shine through us, Jesus, and reveal Yourself to my mom, siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins. They are lost and have no eternal hope. Use us Lord, to share with them.” He was comforted and felt the peace of God wash over him as God reminded him of this verse:
“Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:10-12