What if fitting in wasn’t the goal

Malam Ibrahim was a teacher of the Qu’ran in northern Nigeria. That’s the holy book for Muslims.

Through his reading and study he became convinced that a unique function and role is given to the person of Isa Mahis—Jesus the Messiah—as the mediator “through whom the prayers of the faithful are offered up to” God.

Malam gathered around him other Muslims who came to the same view. They started saying prayers in the name of Jesus the Messiah.

The religious authorities found out and charged him with heresy. He refused to recant. As a result, he was crucified in Kao marketplace.*

Have you ever felt hated or in physical danger because of your faith in Jesus? Maybe you have. Maybe you haven’t. Either way, you’ve probably felt different, and certainly like an outsider.

Even though Malam’s experience might be very different from yours, your faith in Jesus will mean that you won’t always fit in. But Jesus knew that would happen to his disciples. In John 17:14 he prayed: “I have given them your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.”

Today I want to encourage you. If you feel like an outsider—or even hated—because of your faith, you’re in good company. That’s what happened to Jesus. It’s what happened to the first apostles and disciples.

And it continues to happen today.

We don’t retaliate, we love. We don’t talk non-stop, we listen. We don’t hide, we serve. 

A part of being a disciple means that we don’t always fit in to the world around us. And guess what? That’s not always a bad thing.

Love, listen, serve.


–As told in: John P. Bowen, Jesus: The Only Way? Christian Witness in a Pluralistic World (Toronto: Focus Infinity Christian Outreach Network, 2011), 24.

–Bible quotes are from the NIV.

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