I first met Sidiq after our Perspectives Panel event.
As a part of the panel, I had just shared the Christian perspective on a variety of different topics and questions.
Afterward, Sidiq approached me to ask me his own question. He explained to me that although he grew up in a Muslim family in Algeria, he doesn’t consider himself Muslim. He was clearly curious about what I believed and seemed to be searching for the truth about God. Recognizing the opportunity to help Sidiq explore his curiosity, I asked for his phone number and set up a time to meet with him the next week.
UNDERSTANDING WHERE HE IS AT
When Sidiq and I met again, I asked him some more questions to clarify his current beliefs. Although he grew up in a Muslim family, he didn’t like all of the rules and restrictions placed on his freedom. This was one of the main reasons he moved to Canada. He wasn’t convinced of God’s existence, yet he was constantly wrestling with that question and others related to it. I simply took the initiative to help him explore Christianity. Specifically, I shared with him the uniqueness of Jesus and his death on the cross to pay for our sins.
At the conclusion of our conversation, he told me “This is the first time I have understood what Christians believe. I don’t know if I will believe in this, but I understand now why people believe in Jesus.” His curiosity encouraged me to ask if we could meet again to read the Bible together. I wanted to help him move beyond his curiosity and become open to change.
We met again and read through the first few chapters of John. I was amazed at how quickly he grasped their meaning. As we continued to meet regularly, I asked him “What would it take for you to be convinced that God exists?” He struggled with being unable to know God’s existence with 100% certainty.
Alongside our discussions, I continued to invite him to outreach events about faith and reason. He was able to hear strong evidence for belief in the Biblical accounts of Jesus.
After attending these events with me, Sidiq admitted that the existence of God was not really the problem. The real problem was knowing what is true about God and trusting Him completely. This admission signified to me that Sidiq’s beliefs were actually changing as the Holy Spirit worked through our conversations.
Even with Sidiq’s increased desire to seek God, I wanted to build relational trust with him, so I invited him to my house for dinner. He was taken aback by my invitation and considered it a great honour to be invited to my house. The next week, he came over for dinner. We talked more about God and played some games. That night, I believe Sidiq began to see me as more than an acquaintance helping him explore his curiosity about God. I was a trusted friend helping him to seek God.
As a result of building his trust, Sidiq was interested in coming to church with me. There, he heard the Gospel clearly explained once again. Afterwards, he wanted to talk to the pastor. During our conversation, Sidiq said “This is what I am looking for…If I will believe in something, I will believe in Jesus.”
This confirmed for me that Sidiq had moved past becoming open to change and was in fact seeking God intentionally. I continued to invite Sidiq to church (though he basically invited himself).
One of the best things I did was introduce Sidiq to many of my Christian friends on campus. Now, he has many Christian friends who he can trust to walk with him through his journey towards belief in Jesus. I am regularly thinking and praying about the next steps for Sidiq, and asking “What will it take for Sidiq to follow Jesus?”
In just a few months, God has allowed me to help Sidiq move from being an acquaintance, curious about Christianity, to a friend who is seeking God. I hope to have the privilege of seeing him enter the kingdom at some point in the future. Even today, he asked me what will happen when Jesus comes back. I explained to him that there will be a new heaven and a new earth with no more pain, no more suffering, no more tears, no more curse. I asked him “If somebody offered you all of those things, why would you not accept the gift?” He was obviously provoked to deep thought.
“That’s a very good question. I will need to think about that. Maybe for one week…or one month…or one year…” he chuckled in his usual manner.
That’s fine. I can wait. In the meantime, I’ll keep inviting him over for dinner, talking with him about his questions and inviting him to church. The journey is not over yet for Sidiq. But I am on the journey with him.
How can understanding thresholds help you journey with your friends?