6/17/15 Ondra about 40
“I’m very sure of my beliefs and nothing you can say is going to change my mind!” a man told me very early in our conversation at a Menards store. “I’m from a religion few have heard about, called Jainism” he said. Ondra (spelling?) is from India, grew up in this religion, and now attends a Jain temple here in Chicago. I have heard of Jainism but didn’t know much about it, so I went on to learn from him that Jainism is kind of a mix between Hinduism and Buddhism – they believe in a creator god who is uninvolved in the world; in karma and reincarnation; and that humans must improve themselves through good behavior to eventually reach a state of nirvana and to become gods themselves. Ondan said he had grown up in this religion and repeatedly said he couldn’t be convinced otherwise. Should I continue the conversation? I know better than to be challenged to try to change his mind through my own argument or effort, and it was tempting to just excuse myself from the conversation as not being worth my time. Either response, I believe, would be a denial of the power of the Holy Spirit. Relying on one’s own powers of persuasion is not trusting in the Spirit, and neither is giving up sharing the Gospel because a person is “unreachable”. Ondra is a fellow human being deserving of my best effort to communicate Gospel truths, and as a non-Christian he is no closer or further from being born again than any other unbeliever, at least from the Spirit’s perspective. Through conversing about his beliefs, I was able to respond with comparisons to Christianity, explaining the Gospel as I went. Whether he wanted to hear it or not, God was glorified and Jesus was proclaimed. If the Holy Spirit has called Ondra to repentance and faith in Jesus, and since He prefers to reach him through His Church, then my conversation with Ondra was no accident and no waste of time. Ondra says he believes God is uninvolved in this world and in our lives personally. Let’s pray that God will change Ondra’s mind!