10/30/12 Brian mid 20's
At a south loop mall I stopped to talk to a young man sitting on a bench, reading something on his phone. "Excuse me, I see you are busy, but I wonder if you have time to answer a few questions." "What's this about?" "It's something called the Great Commission - have you ever heard of it?" He shrugged his shoulders. "Well I just ask people questions about their spiritual beliefs, like do you think there is anything else that happens after we die? Do you believe there is a part of us that continues to exist?" The young man's name was Brian, and he told me he decided at about age 14 to stop believing in God, after growing up as a member of his parent's Methodist church. We talked a while about this, and it turned out this decision was not due to any traumatic or negative experiences of any sort, but he was just turned off by the hypocrisy of the adults at his church, how they really showed little interest in God or spiritual things beyond showing up to church on Sunday mornings and just going through the motions. I shared my own experiences of this, and told him how Jesus said "I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth." (Rev. 3;15-16) Imagine that! -As a result of the way the people at his church had a halfhearted attitude toward God, this young man came to the conclusion that God doesn't even exist! I've heard it said that the biggest reason unbelievers have for not becoming Christians is the behavior of those who claim to follow Christ but don't. On the other hand the biggest reason people give for becoming Christians is the people in their lives who do follow Christ faithfully. Our faith is not our own. It is not meant to be kept to ourselves. If we try to, it will become lukewarm and will have a far more destructive effect in the lives of those around us than even if we were ice cold toward God. Brian and I talked for well over a half hour. He heard the Gospel, though he wouldn't admit so much as a general belief in God. But as I turned to leave he said "This has been a very, very interesting conversation!" I wasn't sure what he meant by that. He might have been hot or cold toward God, but I don't think he was lukewarm.