9/7/13 "Mary" and "John" about 45
Are relationships really necessary to share the Gospel? What happens when we wear out our welcome with a friend or loved one when it comes to sharing our faith? They think they’ve heard all we have to say and our conversation is reduced to just worldy pleasantries while we wait for them to ask to hear more about our relationship with Jesus. In the meantime we hope and pray that God will send someone, another Christian who might speak into their life in a way we cannot. Today, as a stranger on the street, I was able to be that person for a lady I’ll call “Mary” and her husband “John”. Mary’s father happens to attend the main campus of my church, and both Mary and John described him as “shoving his faith down our throats” (2nd time in two days I’ve heard that line) They both said they didn’t believe in God and complained about early Sunday mornings when he would be pounding on their door in order to remind them about church and offer them a ride. What to say? I didn’t want them to put me in the same category, yet I wanted to speak some truth into their lives without them tuning out like they did for her father. “He obviously cares about you a lot” I began. “I’d like to encourage you to see things from his and my perspective as Christians. Whether or not what we say about God is true, if we really believe that all people have the knowledge of good and evil and will be held accountable by God for our sins against Him, but that there is a way to be forgiven through faith in Jesus, then it would only make sense to tell people about him.” was my basic message. They agreed wholeheartedly. By explaining things from her father’s point of view as a Christian who cares for her eternal soul, I was also able to get her to appreciate what he was trying to do while reminding her of the basic Gospel truths that she has long since tuned out. And because I believe the work of convincing Mary and John of these truths is the job of the Holy Spirit and not my own, I decided to leave before I wore out my own welcome, before my insensitivity could distract them from receiving the truth this time around. I trust that Mary’s father has been praying for his daughter and son-in-law, and I believe that I may have been a part of the answer to that prayer today. The vast majority of witnessing encounters described in the New Testament have been between strangers, and in so doing we can be an answer to prayer for many friends and loved ones.