So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Galatians 3:24

I pray that you may be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ. Philemon 1:6

FRONT PAGE - here you will find the last 20 postings about recent conversations. Please pray for these people!

Let's Be Honest

4/16/14                  Alfredo, Carlos      30,50

After meeting at the coffeeshop with my church brother Elias for discipleship and Spanish practice, we went to a nearby table where two friends, Alfredo and Carlos, about 30 and 50 respectively, were also meeting.  I identified myself as being from a nearby church and asked to join them to ask about their beliefs.  They welcomed us and I began to ask some essential questions that helped us understand the basics of what they believed and the journey that brought them there.  Both had been raised Catholic but have moved on to other beliefs; Alfredo now being a universalist (all religions basically the same) and Carlos now being a pantheist (everything is God).  Alfredo made a statement that is something I think many of us fear when we think about sharing our faith: “I got turned off to Christianity by some friends who were trying to convert me”.  I think we fear statements like that  because we don’t want our true intentions exposed and above all we don’t want to be the reason someone rejects Christianity.  But I have learned to be very honest and transparent about my intentions very early on in a conversation or relationship.  I am grateful for what God is doing in my life and I want that for others, and I want to see them in heaven one day.  Who can fault me for that?  But even that intention needs to be prefaced with several statements or actions, usually in the following order during a conversation:  1.) I am careful to say that Christianity is a faith – a reasonable faith to be sure, but a faith nonetheless.  I can’t “prove” anything, and I could be wrong about it all; 2.) I try to spend a good deal of time actively listening to their beliefs and point of view, and I truly believe I have something to gain from hearing about their experiences;  3.)  I freely express my desire that they believe as I do, but I assure them that I don’t believe I can convert or “save” anyone, that this is between them and God; and 4.) I ask permission to clearly share the Gospel, if only for the sake of clearing up misunderstandings about what the Bible actually teaches.  Alfredo and Carlos were pretty confident and set in their beliefs.  There was the potential for a heated argument between us as people of strongly opposing beliefs, but these four actions/statements diffused any anger or negativity and simply allowed us to have a great conversation and to understand one another, and the Gospel, better.  Brothers and sisters, let’s learn to be honest and unashamed about our desire for others to come to faith in Jesus.  We have Paul as our example, who was asked by his captor, King Agrippa: “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?” and Paul responded by saying “Short time or long—I pray to God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.”     (Acts 26)

No comments: