Has anyone ever asked you, “Are you perfect?” More than that, have you ever had someone assume that you are? It was another beautiful day in Cape Town when a student and I decided to take a moment to grab a couple of sodas and catch up. We sat for a while talking about life and about the fact that he was about to be a daddy soon and how he and his wife’s lives were about to change forever. We finished our drinks and began to head to one of the busiest places on campus – the library.
As we walked, I noticed a booth that was set up by what appeared to be Muslim students. Some of the women were traditionally dressed with their faces covered. As we passed by, something made me turn back around and head towards the booth. Time slowed down as thoughts crossed my mind.
“Why are they such a mystery?”
“I wonder if they have heard the Gospel before?”
I wasn’t quite sure what I wanted to say, so I said the first thing that came to mind as I approached the booth. “Are these for free?”
“Sure they are! Take whatever you like.” they replied.
There was a brief silence as I looked through the various booklets and DVD’s that shared about Islam. I came to find out that it was Muslim Awareness Week on the campus and that they do this kind of thing every year.
“Do you know anything about Islam?” she said inquisitively. Unbeknownst to us, she initiated a conversation that would end up taking an hour to finish.
I replied with a couple things I knew about their religion. Then she asked, “What’s something funny you’ve heard about Islam?” I drew a blank. The student I was with stated something he thought was funny. We all gave a couple chuckles and as our laughs ceased she asked us what faith we were a part of. We replied that we were Christians and that we followed Jesus. At this point, there was a shift in the atmosphere as the questions poured from multiple people at the booth.
“How do you know you have the right translation [of the Bible]?”
“Why do you have so many translations?”
“What rules do you guys follow? We have a set list that says what we can and can’t do.”
Their questions started off a bit confrontational in nature but surprisingly turned more inquisitive, as though they were coming from their hearts and not their heads.
“How can a person who follows Jesus and has all their sins forgiven continue to live a sinful life after their sins are forgiven?”
“Are you perfect now because your sins are forgiven?”
“Why did God have to come? Couldn’t He, since He is all powerful, just forgive my sins without having to come?”
I tried my best to answer each of these questions and towards the end I was able to ask them a question of my own. “Has anyone ever shared with you how a person becomes a Christian?” In unison, the 3 women and 1 guy, shook their heads with a silent, “No.”
This opened up an opportunity to use a booklet called The Four Spiritual Laws to share the Gospel with them. The booklet is used to explained four basic points to understanding how to know God personally. They all nodded reassuringly as I spoke. Afterwards, I wanted to see if they understood by asking them to say the four points back to me. “I think I can!” one girl said with confidence, and repeated them quite well. I handed her the booklet to keep if she wanted to refer back to it later.
The opportunity before me was the same we all have in our different spheres of influence as followers of Christ. In a world full of bad news, hearing the Good News is the most important thing someone can hear. So, am I perfect? Are we perfect? No. We follow the One who is perfect, and because of that we are forgiven. We are free.