3/27/13 Carl 49
I enjoy meeting Christians while reaching out with the Gospel, not only for the fellowship and the chance to learn how God has been working in their life, but also to set an example for them to share their faith themselves. After one such conversation at a fast-food restaurant with a relatively new believer (I forget his name), I went on to talk to a middle-aged man named Carl at the table next to him. I saw the shocked look on his face when he overheard Carl emphatically tell me why he rejects organized religion, giving several examples of abuses done by religious leaders and churches. There was a time when I would have been shocked and speechless myself, because I wrongly assumed the best way to share the Gospel is to convince people how wonderful or even how cool it is to be a Christian. I wouldn’t have known what to say to people like Carl who often just use these examples as smokescreens to avoid dealing with the real issue – their broken relationship with God. The young believer listened to hear how I would respond, and he might have been a little surprised: “Carl, I have to say, I agree with you! A lot of religious people are very hypocritical. In fact, the only people Jesus really criticized were the Pharisees, who were the religious leaders at the time.” “Yeah, and he got mad at the people in the temple” Carl said. “Right, because they were trying to take advantage of religion for their own selfish gain, A lot of what is done in Jesus' name goes directly against his teachings. This is what He meant when he predicted that many false teachers would come in His name, and that we need to watch out for them. But let’s forget about churches and organized religion for a minute. Where are you at in your relationship with God?” This led to a good Gospel conversation that seemed very eye-opening for Carl. The young believer had to leave about halfway through, but I think it may have given him a good idea of how he too can initiate Gospel conversations for himself.