doing it wrong

I was standing in Starbucks the other day waiting for my drink and I overheard a conversation happening at the table behind me. Two college students were sitting there having drinks, a boy and a girl, and the boy was very analytically trying to talk the girl into believing in God. In Christianese this is called “witnessing.” I felt a stab of shame in the pit of my stomach, hoping that back in my more zealous, naive-Christian-days I never tried to talk someone into Jesus.

I wanted to turn around and tell him that he was doing it all wrong. That we can’t talk people into believing that God is real with books and statistics and the “Romans Road.” I wanted to say that we don’t talk people into Jesus with threats of the intangible hell or promises of a heaven they can’t see. We can’t talk people into Jesus at all. But what we can do is engage their hearts. We can tell them how he saved us: from hopeless marriages and heartbreak with second chances and plans bigger that we could ever imagine. How he gave hope when there was none and light when things seemed very dark and comfort to endless tears. That when life was really, really bad he whispered promises in my ear – promises that he knew what he was doing with me and that he was holding me safe in his hand. Promises that there would be better days, full of joy. Promises that came true.

I wanted to tell him that people can’t be talked into believing in God and that by trying to do so, we’re having the opposite effect, pushing them farther and father away. Dear college student, people can’t be talked into God, but they can go searching for him, inspired by how he rescued you.

Category: church/spiritual beliefs, heart 3 comments »

3 Responses to “doing it wrong”

  1. Bex

    Amen, sista!

  2. Michelle

    I totally agree with you! Some of my favorite Christians are those who never whip out their faith and flog people with it, they just ARE what a Christian is supposed to be: Non-judgmental, loving, decent people who show their faith through their behavior and treatment of others.

    Now, will you call my Mother and tell her that insisting that I will burn in Hell unless I put on fancy clothes and go to her church every Sunday only makes me want to NOT go to church with her?

  3. Elaine

    Can you tell this to my brother? He’s being the worst kind of Christian and even though I don’t claim to be one, he’s making me embarrassed for all good Christians out there.


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