3/7/17 Jay 19
"I don't want to be THAT guy", 19 year old Jay told me in a sidewalk outreach conversation. He had been telling me that he has taught the CCD confirmation class in his family church for several years, but he really doesn't believe any of it, or believe in God's existence for that matter. I had asked why he wasn't honest about his beliefs and he said that he didn't want to be the guy who robs hope from others because he doesn't believe in it himself.
We talked further and I found out that he really didn't understand the religion he was teaching. He didn't understand the reason for Jesus' death and resurrection - the central event of Christianity - and without that foundation the rest of the faith seems like just so many arbitrary and disjointed stories and religious observances. It had been easier for him just to tell himself that God doesn't exist. For him the cross was simply an example of ultimate humility that we all should follow, regardless of faith in God or not. But it is so much more than that, and I went on to explain the significance of the cross in making a way for God "… to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus." (Romans 3:26)
We had a long conversation, and even though he claimed he didn’t believe in God I wanted Jay to see that Christianity actually makes sense, that he doesn’t have to feel he has to just throw up his hands in confusion and say he doesn't believe altogether. He appreciated my explanation, and I think it did make sense to him at least on an intellectual level. Let's just pray it connects to his heart, that he doesn’t have to be THAT guy who acts like he believes but doesn’t.