They Are Watching You
A certain “Mzee” (an old man) of Somali origin with whom we have crossed paths severally in the course of my stay and ministry among the unreached realized that I am a Christian through my colleagues at work. There is a time I was sick and he came to see me at my place. This was not only shocking but strange. Later, he visited me one evening after work and came along with two other Muslims. We shared a cup of tea while seated outside. Strangely, he and his group of fellow visitors didn’t say anything that suggested or necessitated the surprise visit. As usual, I brought up religious conversations and they seemed to enjoy it before they left after almost two hours for evening Muslim prayers.
On another day, he came to visit me at work to talk to me but I didn’t know. I thought he was coming to see my workmates to plan communal issues. When he entered the office, I picked a chair and the Mzee picked up a chair and followed me outside. It was at this time that I sensed that he was after something. We sat outside the office. He asked me a series of questions surrounding sex, Christian wedding and marriage. Once he was done with the questions, he sat to explain why we were having the conversation.
He told me that he knew two Christians, a man and a woman, who came to work in the neighboring villages. The woman was married and had three children who were living with her husband back at home. The man also was married and had two children living with his wife back home. They came here six months apart and were complete strangers to each other when they arrived. After sometime they started living together in the same room as husband and wife. When he got curious and asked them, they told him that they were now married. This puzzled the old man. He then asked me about two of my neighbors whom he knew and who lived next to me, who according to him, came here when they were total strangers but now live together as husband and wife. They say that they are now married to each other. He wondered how Christians marry considering that he had seen such incidences repeatedly and was comparing that with how Muslims get married.
He surely needed answers and had come to me to know more about the matter. I did let him know that “come we stay” (co-habiting) is not a Christian marriage and is not permitted by our Christian marriage principles. I also made it clear that sexual sins like fornication and adultery are serious for any believer. He didn’t believe what he just heard. He stood up, ran into the office and called all those inside to come hear what I was saying. They all gladly came and he explained that since he had seen “Christians” who have came to live and work among them practice “come we stay” he had erroneously assumed that it is a recognized Christian marriage. He had also assumed that our Bibles allowed any sex but I took this chance to correct him and quote a few scriptures to them.
The old man shook his head many times, moved about and would come back and ask over and over again “is this true? What of those who have been practicing this? Why are they doing it?” I engaged him and those around in a deep conversation of what we believe and why and they all left happy.
Such immoral behaviour exposes us Christians to criticism from those of different belief systems, especially for the Christians living in the unreached places, places full of those whom we want to reach out to. They are watching our lifestyle and they will use such behavior to judge our faith. How we present ourselves to them determines whether they will open their hearts to us or not. A breed of disciples whose hearts are set to live up to Kingdom standards without compromise will preach more with their lifestyles than their words. There are Muslims looking for Jesus and they will understand our Jesus based on how they see you and me live. And this is what is meant by “we shall be known by our fruits’ not our words.
I have found that it is easier to reach the hearts of those who have not set Christ as their Lord by simply demonstrating to them the Kingdom lifestyle, preaching and speaking less and living right. This is more effective.
What kind of gospel are you preaching with your lifestyle?
***Peter Kale (not his real name) is a missionary serving among an unreached people group in Northeastern Kenya