A temptation for the heart of the persecuted
The persecuted and MBBs often face rejection. The resulting pain presents a difficult temptation – closing their hearts. They may feel that closing their hearts will lessen the pain, but it actually causes an inability to feel.
When they cannot feel, joys disappear, while wounding continues. In most cases, that wounding creates deep hurts that negatively affect behavior. That bad behavior seems to be random because the person’s closed heart cannot feel the pain nor discern its cause. Monitoring capacity is lost unless the persecuted re-open their hearts.
How can an MBBs keep an open heart? It’s through trusting God and receiving His inimitable love in Christ. A part of that is being part of the local church, or even starting small groups and churches. God often uses others to bring healing, and then love can be felt again.
Explanation of how to receive God’s love, healing, and how to evangelize, disciple and start small groups and churches can be found in my book, Discipling Muslim Background Believers, for sale on this site and also on Amazon.
Keywords: Persecuted, MBB, keeping heart open
Treating serious pain like a squeaky wheel
All Christians experience pain suffered at the hands of others, especially persecuted believers. MBBs tend to experience very high levels of emotional and even physical pain. How can serious pain be best dealt with?
Some would say to ignore the pain and soldier on. The problem with that is the cause of the pain may be preventing a person from living the way that he or she is called to live. It’s better to treat pain like a squeaky wheel – understand the symptom and treating the cause while soldiering on. It’s better to not ignore the pain. Much like putting oil between two metal surfaces rubbing against each other, find healthy ways to treat the pain so the MBB can function properly.
The greater the pain, the likelihood is the the wound, physical or emotional, is more serious. Sometimes serious pain requires professional help and even a support group. In every case, ask God to heal the MBB both physically and emotionally. The emotional healing will usually take time, sometimes many years, but He does heal.
I’ve talked to many MBBs that were disowned and disinherited. Some were even tortured. Surprisingly, the ones tortured said the deepest pain came from family rejection. Emotional pain can be debilitating to a person’s soul, psyche and personal interactions. However, the MBBs that asked God for emotional healing and were willing to get help, even from professionals, fared much better than those that did not.
It is also useful for the MBB to be in fellowship with other Christians that will love and minister to the MBB. Being part of a local small group or church can be a big part of God’s plan to heal a wounded MBB.
Often, when I hurt the most, rather than allow me to devolve into a cycle of endless self-analysis and self-pity, God would provide opportunities for me to serve other people, regardless of whether they were Christian or not. Afterwards, I was often pleasantly surprised to find that though I had been in my darkest hours, reaching out to help other people had very positive benefits for me. The pain usually abated, and sometimes did not come back with the same intensity. I am not talking about giving love to others in order to get help from God – that’s not real love, which seeks to benefit others for their good. I am talking about serving others with no expectation of return. It worked well for me and may be useful to keep in mind.
After dealing with the pain while soldiering on, have the MBB refocus and continue to live out God’s will for his or her life with greater energy and passion.
Keywords: Christian, discipleship, MBB, dealing with pain
Remembering the day of your salvation
MBBs, there are ways to diminish soul pain in the midst of persecution, and I’d like to tell you about one of them. I was told by a college classmate to remember my salvation during times of great pain. He said that there might be times when nothing was working, but remembering my salvation most likely would. He was right. It worked for me during very intense times, even when reading the Bible seemed to have no effect.
The word of God is always effective. I simply could not take it in by reading it in during that time. My mind was probably not able to focus properly. Yet, my soul needed to see God’s love, and the way that seemed to work every time was remembering God’s demonstrated love for me on the day that I was saved. Remembering the changes in my life, what He gave for me, that He chose me and that He would never leave made the pain more manageable. It always made me feel loved and reminded me that God was in control. It still does. Remembering makes me remember His character, which is always good.
Remembering the day of my salvation has been effective for me when dealing with intense soul pain from persecution. Please consider doing the same.
Keywords: MBB, discipleship, remembering salvation, dealing with pain, persecution
What would you like to read on this blog?
You may have questions about Muslims, Muslim background believers (MBBs), ministering to either or both, or other things. What would you like me to write about?
Keywords: Muslim, MBB
The ministry of being there for MBBs
People often wonder if they are equipped to minister to someone going through the loss and grief that persecuted MBBs experience. The answer is: yes!
You do not have to have gone through the same thing as another in order to effectively minister to them. Sometimes simply being with someone is enough to help them through an awful time. The people that most effectively ministered to me in college knew little to nothing of my culture or my pain. They were friendly, and we enjoyed each other’s company — it was more than enough.
If you can walk with an MBB through the pain, please do so. You don’t usually need to discuss pain unless they do. Your presence alone will be like a salve for them, especially if you help them enjoy the normalcy of life and perhaps even make them smile a time or two. The ministry of being there is underrated these days. It is extremely powerful for ministry to the persecuted.
Keywords: Being there, MBB, persecution