How easy it is to be misunderstood! So often our ability to say what is really in our hearts is difficult, and then we when we do manage to iron out the words the misunderstandings still arise. Having posted an article on the Internet on the women in Islam, I expected to hear from women who disagreed with my views, but to see how others read into what one has written was enlightening. There is nothing like seeing oneself through another’s eyes to make one wonder. For instance, one of the ladies who read my article mentioned that I was out of touch with women who are stay at home mothers. “Me?” I chuckled, having been out of the formal workforce since marriage and having generations of mother and grandmothers etc. before me having done the same. But this lady read what she expected of me, this Westerner who is critical of Islam. She accused me of finding the Muslim woman intellectually bankrupt and weak, when actually through the article I only lifted them up and was critical of Islam for making them feel belittled. Her expectations of what I was going to say altered her ability to hear me. She missed the whole point because she had her notions of what I wanted to say. She had her assumptions about who I was and therefore forgot to actually read what I said.
"Though seeing, they do not see; though hearing, they do not hear or understand. In them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah: " 'You will be ever hearing but never understanding; you will be ever seeing but never perceiving. For this people's heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.'” Matt 13: 13-15
This is a reminder to me in my walk not only to try and not read my own ideas into the scripture as we are all guilty of to some degree from time to time, to prove ourselves right, but also to listen to the “other” side without trying to put them in a box covered in labels. Whether it be a Muslim, a person with another political view, or just another denomination for that matter, we should be at least listening to one another. While our view may not be changed but our perspective of what we think that the other thinks might be altered. So rarely do people actually fit into the boxed labels that we put them in, we are not labels or made to go in boxes, but individuals. Just as this Muslim lady put me in a box of a Western woman who knows nothing of traditional values, so do we often readily box folks up and deafen our hearts.
I find that as I read on Islam and the faith I can easily become angry with it, as it is so filled with darkness. I can easily find emotions rising with thinking of the actions done in it’s name against innocents that can enrage and take over. The religion is indeed filled with hypocrisy... but I have to remind myself it is not the religion that I care about but the people who stand in need because of it. It is not for me to destroy Islam, but to love the Muslim. With that as our focus Islam will crumble without an effort. But how can I love the Muslim if I don’t listen to or know him/her? If I don’t hear their cries?
It has been my prayer that my heart would not be calloused to what what the Lord wants to share with me all along, but I am learning that I should also pray to not be calloused to hearing other’s cries. Only when we hear them, see them in their need do we begin to have compassion for them. We would seek to encourage you to also read the letters from our Muslim friends, and really look at their desires to get to know them so that you might pray for them and have compassion for their great need. The Lord wants them to hear so that they might be healed! Your prayers and support are the vital piece of this work. Your hearts that are softened to the Lord’s desire to see Muslims coming to Him are the key to their softening to listen. Pray with us for their ears to be opened and their hearts to soften to Him!