10/26/15 Adam early 20's
We were on the street looking to initiate a witnessing conversation. “Excuse me” I said to the first man who came by, “I have an interesting question to for you”. I often start good conversations by asking “What do you think happens after we die?”. A surprisingly high percentage of people respond with thoughtful answers, but not this man. “I’d talk, but I’m really in a hurry right now” he said, and continued on his way. However, Adam, a young man just behind him, overheard me, and volunteered, “Maybe I can help” he said. “You guys lost or something?”
This was the start of an hour long conversation. Adam turned out be an agnostic in belief, but a nice guy and deeply concerned about being a good person despite his lack of faith in God. In fact, he took great pride in being a good person -be it on his own terms- despite his lack of belief. Adam is typical of the unbelieving mindset. Though they reserve the right to determine the standard for good or bad behavior, they are nonetheless very concerned with justifying their own actions and claiming to be a “good person”.
But why do they care so much? Who are they trying to impress? The Apostle Paul observed this same attitude in non-believers when he wrote “…the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.” People might try to make excuses or set their own standards for right or wrong behavior, but the very fact that they try to do so shows that they know deep down that there is a “referee” to whom they are ultimately accountable. Our conscience is in fact God’s law which has been written on our hearts ever since Adam and Eve first gained the knowledge of good and evil.
My conversation with Adam continued so long because he had many excuses to work through and to expose for exactly what they are – excuses. Adam has been a seeker – maybe not for God, but seeking to ease his conscience with some set of beliefs with which to justify himself. Believers or not, all people have a God-given conscience, and this is what we can appeal to in showing people their need for Jesus.