5/22/14 Gerardo 21
“Mid-Course Correction” – Part 4 – After five years of daily witnessing conversations, I’m thinking I need to make some changes. I’d like to say I know what I’m doing, but I don’t. I’m not even making this up as I go along because I’m not sure where it is taking me! What I do know, both biblically and now, I believe, confirmed by experience, is that 1.) Non-believers are generally unable to seek after God, despite what the “seeker-sensitive” church movement tells us. They don’t have the internal motivation of the Holy Spirit, and our culture increasingly squelches the external influence of the Spirit through believers or circumstances. This means that I need to be ready to keep reaching out to people after I initiate that first witnessing conversation, rather than expect them to call me back on their own initiative; 2.) If I keep reaching out to people that I have talked to, I will soon run out of time to talk to anyone new! What to do? So far my last few witnessing conversations have helped guide my path. Yesterday I spoke with a young man named Gerardo, 21, again out on a sidewalk, again for about half an hour. Gerardo was different from the first three people I have written about since considering these changes - he does not have that “intellectual ascent” to the Gospel that they had. In fact, he pretty much argued or refuted every point I made. He grew up Catholic and believes in God, but his connection with Christianity ends there. He is very opinionated and prefers to rely on his own imagination about God rather than on what any outside authority, biblical or otherwise, might say. I could see what I was telling him made sense, but also that he could see that the natural outcome of what I was saying would mean repentance from his current lifestyle, something he wasn’t about to consider. He showed no signs of further interest in spiritual things, only in maintaining his current lifestyle. So do I tell a guy like this that I will call him back in a week to see what he thinks? Of course God can work in surprising ways, and one needs to be open to anything. But my faith is not a blind faith, it is a reasonable faith. I have a God given trust in the Holy Spirit, but I also have a God-given intellect, which tells me that Gerardo isn’t even close to wanting to talk further. Something miraculous needs to happen his life. I gave him my contact information, but I didn’t ask for his. He needs to know that the initiative needs to be his; that when it comes to the things of God the ball is in his court. So how does this affect my “mid-course correction?” It helps me to treat people more as individuals, just as God treats us.