6/14/16 Jason, Jay about 20
As believers wanting to share the Gospel, we often focus on getting the conversation started. But then what? What if someone of a totally different and unbelieving world view responds with interest and tons of questions, hardly waiting until one question is answered before going on to another?
That’s what we found in Jason and Jay, two college roommates with hardly any religious background between them and zero interest in Christianity based on the caricatures of Christians they have seen in the media. We had started a sidewalk conversation with them that went on for 40 minutes. The whole time they maintained that they were totally in opposition to our beliefs, and they came up with question after question to refute Christianity. I believe our answers were reasonable, but honestly I don’t think we could expect them to change their thinking on any one of the multiple topics we touched on, topics that have taken us half our lifetime to wrap our minds around even with the benefit of having a Bible-centered world view.
What we needed, and what this conversation would never have continued without, was patience. Paul’s admonition to Timothy was to “Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction.” Paul knew the importance of patience when we share our faith, and I am starting to realize just how important it is too. After dozens of patient responses to their questions and careful instruction even though I am aware they would probably forget most of the details of our responses, Jason and Jay said they were thankful for our patience, our civil conversation without arguments, and they could see there are reasonable responses to their many questions from the Christian perspective.
We live in a time of instant gratification and the daily resolving of conflicts within the time frame of a half hour or hour long television program. We choose to hang around people of like mind who support our point of view, and we are often unaware that even if we don’t choose to do so social media like Facebook will choose them for us. We avoid deep conversations about controversial topics, or we keep them at a distance online. We get what we want, when we want it, and in the midst of our fast-paced culture patience is becoming a lost art. Patience is a requirement for sharing our faith, and it can only be learned through prayer and practice.