By David Pam McQuel
Understanding the Truth is the moment man comes closer to eternal life.
We sat with Konate to talk. I intended to make the gospel as clear as possible. He just wanted a chat. He has met a few church people who talked church and Christ, he always won the debate. He was certain this meeting would turn the same way.
He laughed. He smiled. And he threw a little joke and jest here and there to lighten the mood. He wanted to handle me. He wanted to be step ahead and just have fun. But I didn’t want to be dogmatic or religious but polite and firm. I wasn’t going to let politics, sports and friendship lighten the moment. I just stayed focused.
Konate is Dioula, predominantly a people of Islamic culture in West Africa. However, he was a total secularist. In his childhood, he has been to the mosquef a few times. But growing up as a teenager, in the South, survival was the main goal.
He made friends with mostly kids of Catholic background to whom Christianity was dominantly a designation rather than a practice. They were like him. Religion was totally absent from their lives. The played along what worked and anything for survival or for a better life.
Grown up now in his late 30s, he has seen it all! Danger and ruggedness, risk and threat, failure and success, struggles and breakthrough. He has entered places he thought he’d never come out,survived a ghastly accident many didn’t and has many times been involved in physical fights with clubs and knives and survived.
Konate has known dire need, abject poverty and unexplainable want. He has spend sleepless nights on empty stomach, trekked long distances for lack of money.
Yet before forty, according to him, luck has fallen on him. Through his struggles, a lesson his mum taught him turned his life around. “Help people, but don’t expect any reward from them but God”, she said a million times. In his youth he kept this truth until one day he help a man who came back to change his life.
From then, God blessed him. He runs a wholesale business that has brought him happiness and comfort beyond his wildest imagination. And in all this, he was irreligious.
He believed God existed, but had no contact or relationship with him. He thought the Jew, the Christian, the Muslim and the traditional worship all worshipped one God. His philosophy puts him in comfort and no dispute with anyone. He just smiles when others argue. He belongs to no one but believes in none actively. He felt safe that way.
He rationalized that if he didn’t drink, lie, go after his neighbours wife or cheat someone from what is legitimately his, and give generously to the needy, he will please God at the end and have free pass into paradise.
But then a nagging question has hunted him for years now, “Do you know how God will judge you?”
Of a truth he always thought he knows what God wants, but then how will God judge him? Now, this question bothers him more than ever.
“High buddy!” I greeted
He smiled with his Mr Cool Guy comfort. “Welcome chez moi.”
We gisted a bit about the days activities, about life in Abidjan, about travelling which is his hobby. He shared with pleasure, his experience with different cultures, in Tanzania, Egypt and the Congo.
As we chatted, I was seeking in my heart the best way to approach and breakthrough his over confidence.
He went on to show me around his living room the five beautiful oil on canvas paintings. He found out I love paintings. We tried to outsmart each other on interpreting these fine amazing artworks. He bought two in Accra, one from Senegal and two from Tanzania.
“At the end, what will be your reward?” I threw the question and took him at stealth.
Je ne sais pas.” He replied, at first gazing right into my eyeballs, then back to the painting as if he wants to understand something that has long escaped him.
“I tried not to think deep into spiritual things” he added
Right there, I knew I got the key to his heart
“You know Konate, God’s way of judging is different.’ For the first time I saw Mr. Confidence scared. I could almost see sweat drops on his forehead. Little did I know the Spirit of God was leading me to hit the question that has tormented him forms long time.
I then quoted Isaiah 55:8
8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.

He has never read the Bible, how could he know these verses were written in there? As I began to breakdown what these two verses meant and link them to the free gift eternal life in Jesus, Konate stared at me through his glasses, unemotional, at first trying to act calm and invulnerable but then, we were just two of us, why hide his vulnerability?

From then he opened up as I broke forth the truth in tiny digestible fragments, trying hard to keep my sharing short, to maintain momentum and to lead him to the faith.
“Mon Ami, I’m touched!” He broke in calmly and forced me to pause. Right then I knew he had received the word of God.
The next 5 minutes, I led him to Christ and clearly spelt out the rudiments of faith in Christ. He was spellbound. He was glad to receive forgiveness. He had an encounter with the Truth.
Jesus is the Truth

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