You know, this past week…no this past year, I have encountered many people who have lingered away from God into a totally different world. It has saddened me. While I will not go into names because I believe we need to protect those who are still growing in their faith and those who have doubts after seeing these people turn from God. So if you are posting videos, CNN articles, websites, etc…stop it. This is not the way to defend our faith. Putting a picture out there or video out there and adding your own quote does NOT defend your faith well. Because in the end, what are people going to look at most, your words or that picture / video?
Lets be real for a moment……we all have our ways of defending our faith…but is it the correct way? For the past few days, I’ve compiled a list of things that I feel would be proper in defending our faith towards a person who has doubts or has already turned away from God.
(1) Don’t tell them about their beliefs, tell them about YOUR beliefs.
Too often, we get so emotional and caught up in the idea of trying to teach people that their doubts are wrong, their ideas of a God-less world is crazy, and their decision to turn away from God will send them to hell. We are called to love everyone, no matter what or how they live. We don’t have to agree with it. But we need to communicate with love and with a gentle heart AND with gentle words. Teach them about your experiences, what you have seen, what you have come to know. Talk WITH them, not talk TO them.
(2) Don’t say things unless you are ready to defend what you say.
This is a very weak area for most believers. We say stuff to our friends, but when they come back to ask us where in the scriptures does it say that. We get stuck. Be knowledgable in your material. An army soldier does not go to battle unless it is mentally and physically prepared. We as soldiers of Christ need to prepare for battle everyday. Be ready mentally, physically, and spiritually.
(3) Do not ignore answering questions from them
If we ignore questions, because its too hard or overwhelming, it causes others to identify that you are not knowledgable or not able to defend what you say. If you don’t know the answer, be honest and say so. If you are feeling overwhelmed, be honest and say so. Think of it on the other hand, would you want you questions answered too? Do so for others.
(4) Do not threat or insult them
If a person turns from God, and you bluntly tell them “You are going to hell” – that is a threat. While in some scriptures, it does point to that. That is not our way of reaching out to them. That is not the spiritual answer. A threat like that is more of an emotional one. Threatening or insulting those who have turned away from God only does two things (1) pushes them further away (2) causes them to be more firm in their decision to stay away from God. We are called to pray for those who have turned from God. Don’t say you will do it, DO IT.
(5) Do not think that one person speaks for all of them
Do we Christians have one sole person to speak for all of us here on earth? No, we all have different beliefs, different opinions, different views, different backgrounds. It is same on the other side. What one person says will be 10 times stronger coming from someone else. It would be wise to study on what some say on specific areas to be knowledgeable in situation if the question or discussion arises. Let the person speak for themselves. Maybe God will use you as a tool to win them back.
(6) Do not send them emails, messages, calls with hurtful words.
This is almost similar to #4 but in the Deaf world, it has become so easy to access people and say things without seeing the response from their faces. Recently, a friend of mine converted to atheism…and while I was hurt and while I was emotionally drained…I sent him a message with a simple and heartfelt meaning. “Brother! Just wanted to let u know that no matter what decision you make, u have my love and prayers for your journey. Blessings!” Simple words of love will go a long way. Because when and IF they turn back to God, they will remember the words of those who were positive and who were negative. Be careful with what you say.
I close this post with a scripture that I love to often mention:
Joshua 1:9 says “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go”
My brothers and sisters….the time is NOW to turn up the heat on evangelism work. If you are a minister of a church, enlarge your territory (Prayer of Jabez) and do MORE outreach than before….reach out to other ministers who may be discouraged….mentor them, support them, pray for them…..we need more soldiers prepared for battle!
May the Lord be with you always! Be Strong, Be Courageous, Have no Fear, God is With You!