3/28/12 Herman, about 60
I asked an older man at the park if he (Herman) had a few minutes to answer some questions about his beliefs. "Well, I'm a Catholic, how about you?" he asked in Spanish. When he found out I'm a Christian but not a Catholic he immediately responded, "Well, we don't have the same beliefs. Do you believe in the Virgin of Guadalupe?" Now I know there is a time and place for debate, but this wasn't it. We had just met, and I didn't want to start an argumant. I was looking for a conversation about salvation, not a confrontation that could only distract from the basic Gospel message. As with other potential conversational "rabbit trails", we often need to thoughtfully but briefly acknowledge side issues, but then get back to the central essential questions that can get to the heart of a person's basic beliefs. "So as a Catholic you believe that the Virgin of Guadalupe is Mary, the mother of Jesus, right?" Herman agreed. "She was human, but Jesus was both God and man, right?" Herman agreed and said "Yes, because she conceived by the Holy Spirit". "Right, so you also believe what the Bible teaches about God, heaven and hell, and our accountability to God at His final judgment, right?" Herman had to agree. "So how do you think God would judge you? Would you say you are a good person?" This led to a good conversation about our sin and our need for the Savior. As we share the Gospel, we need to be active listeners, not passive. Active listeners truly hear what is being said in order to keep the conversation on track, while passive listeners simple let it wander in any direction without ever really getting at important truths. Please pray for Herman, that he won't be distracted by side issues but that he will focus on Jesus, his one true hope for salvation.