June 06, 2007

I'm Going To Keep Talking Till I Make You Believe

Have you ever had those times as a parent where you realize in the middle of something happening in your family that God has presented you with one of those divine teachable moments.

We had such a moment over the past weekend. We're riding in our van to go eat and my son and wife are arguing about which episode General Grievous dies in. For those of you who are NOT STAR WARS fans, General Grievous is as his name would indicate a villain the in saga and is felled by a Jedi-Knight named Obi-Wan Kenobi (hero). The argument was over which episode (there are 6 movies in the Star Wars saga) it happened in.

My wife believed it was Episode 2. My son INSISTED it was Episode 3. For the record, I sided with the offspring because I've learned never to go against my son when it comes to his A) memory of movies and B) video games.

Okay, you're waiting for the teachable moment here I know. Here it is. My son was really crushed by the fact that my wife wouldn't believe him. I mean hurt. He took it as a personal insult and it bothered him a lot that she just wouldn't listen to him and agree with what he had to say.

So I said to him "Trey, you're not responsible for whether or not she believes you, you're only responsible for telling her what you think is true. You're also responsible for making sure that you ACTUALLY believe what you say is true. As long as you do that, you can't make her believe what you do"

And there it was. A proverb straight from the mouth of Marc. I couldn't believe it. And then I thought, you know, that's is exactly how we are supposed to approach evangelism in the Christian life. I had just finished reading "9 Marks Of A Healthy Church" and it was still fresh on the brain.

Now you gotta understand, I am the type of person who really wants to change other people. I mean, when I hear a belief that is untrue, wrong, or just stupid, it drives me up the wall and I want to engage in an immediate, vocipherous, and protracted debate about why that belief is wrong, and at the end of debate, I EXPECT you to change your attitude. If you don't, then most times I leave the debate frustrated and hurt, just like my son did. Which is probably why I've never been extremely effective as an evangelist. As I read somewhere this past few weeks, I may have won an argument, but the real question was did I win a soul.

And too many times, we shy away from an evangelistic opportunity because we're afraid we won't win the argument. We're afraid that the person won't change and we won't see the "result" of our effort. However, that is not ours to do. Paul planted, Apollos watered, God gave the increase. If that person is going to change, it will be because of a miraculous work of the Holy Spirit, not because of our ability to debate, argue, or persuade.

On the flip side of that, we have made way too many false converts because we felt we had to win the argument, and so we manipulated the debate, pushed too far, and put people into a position where we won, they lost, they accepted Christ, and hallelujah thay are now going to heaven. Problem with that is, they may have never experienced a true regeneration. They may just have mentally assented to losing an argument and cowered to your consequence of losing the argument.

Remember, you are only responsible for presenting and sharing the whole Gospel. The rest, praise the Lord, is up to God. I'm really trying to let this sink in and I hope that God uses this to make me more effective in His work.

For the record, MY SON WAS RIGHT!

1 comment:

camille remarkable said...

I liked your comment over at Baazen Careerist blog. I am also a Christian (Greenpoint Reformed Church in Brooklyn) and I love when people bring Christ into the discussion in fresh and interesting ways.