The Issue of Shame

Muslims,the Problem of Shame, and Isa Mesih

Because I live in the United States, I rarely meet an Arab Muslim, especially one who has become a follower of Isa Mesih. Recently, Mr. Abbas, a former Arab Muslim, gave a lecture at my church.

When he was young, Mr. Abbas was a Syrian soldier. He loved reading books, including books by Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky, famous Russian authors. In their books, Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky often talked about Isa Mesih. This made Mr. Abbas curious about Isa.

The Influence of God’s Word

Mr. Abbas had never seen a Bible. He borrowed one from an army officer. In one year, Mr. Abbas read the entire Old Testament 13 times and the Injil 27 times. Finally, he became a follower of Isa Mesih and a new life.

After his testimony, there was a Q&A session. I asked, “What aspect of Isa Mesih’s life speaks most clearly to the heart of an Arab Muslim?”

What Did Isa Mesih Write in the Dust?

Mr. Abbas immediately told the story of a woman caught committing adultery. Religious people were ready to stone her. Their ideas were similar to the teachings of Islam: “As for the adulteress and the adulterer, flog each of them with a hundred stripes…” (Qs.24:2).

But Isa was different. He bent down beside the woman and wrote on the ground. When Muslims commit a major sin, they will not look at people. They look down at the ground because of their shame.

Isa Mesih knelt beside the woman. He looked at the ground with her. He did not mock or rebuke her, but identified himself with her shame.

Isa said, “… let the one who has never sinned throw the first stone” (Injil, John 8:7). Rather than stone the woman, the people left one by one. Then Isa said, “… ‘Didn’t even one of them condemn you?’ ‘No, Lord,’ she said. And Jesus said, ‘Neither do I. Go and sin no more’” (Injil, John 8:10-11).

Mr. Abbas said that Isa’s identity with this woman’s shame touches every Muslim heart. Does it touch yours? Which action shows love? Stoning a woman, or forgiving her?

Isa Mesih Doesn’t Want to Punish Us

Do you feel shame for something you have done? Are you afraid to face other people? Remember,Isa Mesih wants to forgive you. He wants to deliver you from the shame that binds you and burdens you!

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We encourage our readers to email us their responses.  Please start a conversation with us by focusing on one of the following questions:

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1. How do we usually try to get rid of our feelings of shame?
2. What advice is usually given to religious people who feel ashamed of their mistakes?
3. Have you ever identified yourself with people who feel ashamed and tried to help them overcome their shame?