9/1/13 Raghu, Harish?, Rajesh? early 20’s
On the streets again with the New Life Community Church “prayerwalk” focus in Bridgeport, my prayers led me to reach out to three students from India – Raghu, Harish(?), and Rajesh(?). Raghu took the lead in speaking for the group, and his basic premise was that “since we can’t know for sure what happens after we die, why bother worrying about it?” He viewed this as only common sense, given the wide variety of religious belief he had been exposed to, even within his Hindu upbringing. I caught his interest by saying that it is also common sense, given the brevity of this life and the permanence of eternity, to think ahead and prepare for such a possibility as eternal life. We had a lively conversation for half an hour while Rajesh talked on his phone and Harish listened quietly. Finally, Raghu also received a phone call, so I turned to Harish to ask what he thought of the whole conversation. “Well I don’t believe in any religion, because they are the source of all the conflicts in the world” he said simply. “You know, I don’t blame you” I answered. “A lot of evil has been done in the name of religion. Jesus himself said that many would come after him, claiming to do things in His name that he never taught or intended them to do. A lot of people who call themselves Christians really are not Christians at all, even though they think they are, and have misrepresented Jesus and the Bible in the process.” We went on to talk more about this, and as I now think about it I realize how confusing it must be for non-Christians to sort out false Christians from the “real deal”. It’s hard enough for true believers to recognize one another, and it is really only a job for God and His angels to sort out in the end, when the wheat will be separated from the weeds and the fish will be sorted from the nets (Matt 12). Unbelievers have no experience or concept of what it is like to be “born again”, or the difference between a Christian who is Spirit-led and the false believer who seems to be a nice enough person by his own effort. I believe the bottom line for these thoughts is this: if we depend on simply allowing our lives as “Christians” to do the talking for us when it comes to sharing our faith, we shouldn’t be surprised if our faith never really gets shared. It is simply too confusing for unbelievers to sort out real Christians from all the false believers who misrepresent Christ. Our faith was meant to be shared with words, not just deeds. Without both the words and the deeds of the Gospel, our lives will just get in the way of people seeing Jesus, no matter how nice we may try to be.