3/7/13 Anthony about 25
We need to be winsome when sharing our faith so that we don’t distract people from the hard truths – and grace - of the Gospel. One way to do that is to listen carefully and find points of agreement rather than focus on our differences. In a sidewalk conversation with a young man named Anthony today, he told me he believes – like most people – that he will go to heaven because he is a good person. He mentioned treating other people with kindness, but went on to talk also about the importance of treating the earth and the environment with respect. Before using the Ten Commandments to help explain how our good deeds would be insufficient to “pay” for our sinful rebellion against God, I usually try to affirm the good deeds people say they do because they are, in fact, good – including being environmentally conscious and using our natural resources in a sustainable manner. But where is the biblical support for this? I affirmed Anthony by saying that the Bible emphasizes love for one’s neighbor, and caring for the environment is a one way of showing love for others. Finding points of agreement and affirmation like this, especially early in the conversation, helps us to “earn the right to be heard” so we can go on to share the harder truths of the Gospel such as our sin, God’s just punishment for our sin, our need for repentance, and the fact that we can’t earn salvation with our good works, no matter how environmentally friendly they are.