Ever scratch your head in dismay to how hard it is for someone else to see your perspective in a debate? Of course, we all have. Why can’t see how good this song is? Or this movie? Or sushi? Or..? It seems virtually impossible for us to “get’ that some folks aren’t having and never will have the same experiences as we are.
I hate it when I miss an important in a movie or something goes over my head in a conversation. Being on the receiving end of another’s recognition that I’m not as smart, informed or spiritual as assumed can be humiliating. It also serves as a reminder to the believer that it’s very easy to alienate, offend and hurt others by our testimony if we allow arrogance and presumption to creep in.
Personally, I think that we’re so selfish and impatient my nature that we bulldoze people with our Christian joy with a “Kill em all let God sort em out” spirit. It’s easier to blame others for their seeming resistance if we are bombastic, rude or narrow in our approach than it is to realize that, assuming we are actually having experience with Christ, others may not be enjoying what we are and our lingo, perspective and even joy may be foreign to them.
By barfing a major supply of “I’m blesseds” and “Praise the Lords” to our unconvinced friends and co-workers, not only to we come off as weird but we also send a message of “I don’t care if you don’t get it, I’m doing it anyway.” It’s easy to pull from the Bible passages about letting our light shine, foolishness to the world and expect to be rejected and condemned for our faith to apply here.
But that would be wrong. And dangerous.
Wrong because the Bible clearly teaches us healthy, responsible and loving ways to allow our light to shine to expose a dying world to the provision of love and reconciliation in Christ without us Johnny Applseeding to a degree that we don’t even stop and explain ourselves. Or look back for that matter.
Dangerous because the Bible also exhorts us of our responsibility: we know a lot- too much to fall into patterns of laziness and judgementalism to get out of the time, energy and oft time frustration that comes with knowing the Truth but being placed in an environment of indifference.
Christian indifference begins with the mindset of, “I’ll just tell em and if they don’t get it I’ll move on but no one is gonna rob me of my joy.” These words may sound spiritual on some level and may possess a certain degree of truth but they bypass our calling at its core. Jesus taught us to follow Him into the world by His example of patience, persistence, love and consistent presence.
Passing out fliers for our church does not constitute heartfelt, time-consuming, prayerful evangelizing. It’s mere advertising. Not much more.
Friendship, inclusion, respect for our differences, a shoulder ready to be cried on, “please” and “thank you” and the occasional, gentle invitation to receive prayer or spiritual guidance may not add numbers to your church roster but you’d be surprised how fast a kingdom can grow with a little less shock and awe and a little more stop and share the roses.