I was filling up with gas the other day at the Shell station close to my work. It was a beautiful late winters day and the sun was shining. Cars passed by with their windows down and motorcycles were taken out of hibernation and hitting the streets. In the midst of this beautiful day stood a man on the corner with a megaphone and a sign. The sign read “Jesus is the only thing saving you from HELL” and the man was preaching from the street corner reciting Corinthians from his concrete pulpit. Me with my tattooed cross on my arm and my Nehemiah 4:14 sticker on my back window thought to myself “What an idiot”.
I told my wife the story when I got home. Both of our responses were the same. I really think that this kind of actions does more harm than good for the Christian religion. A good friend of mine once told me that bibles were meant for reading not for thumping. But I’m a new Christian, only about 3 years into this walk with Christ. So my views on the religious crowd is still filled with what I consider hypocrites and bible thumpers. People who are out of touch with society, who only see the world as either heaven or hell. The people I grew to resent, mock and ridicule as a non-believer. So, with that experience, I decided to write down the things I hated to hear as an agnostic.
- “Have you heard the good news?” Seriously? This is like a sales pitch. I once answered my front door and two young people asked me this question. I was polite at the time but complained openly about it as they left. My gut reaction was; I’m not falling for this. And I think that’s the reaction from most non-believers. I don’t want to hear it and I’m not joining your cult. But there is more to the “good news” then just an opened ended question. 1 Corinthians 15:1-2 “Now, brothers and sisters, I want you to remember the Good News I told you. You received that Good News message, and you continue to base your life on it. 2 That Good News, the message you heard from me, is God’s way to save you. But you must continue believing it. If you don’t, you believed for nothing.” There is some pretty good news and if you except Jesus as your lord and savior I think you should embrace it a little. You just have to remember that not everyone has come to this conclusion so step lightly into that question.
- “I’m born again” Really? Does your mother know about this? What does that even mean? And I hope my children don’t get born again, I don’t want to see my wife go through that again. I have to be clear about this, non-believers have no idea what you’re talking about when you say born again. The concept is lost on them. Born again is something you have to experience to have knowledge of. Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The concept to Christians is simple. If you die, because of your sin, then you must be reborn into the eternal life with Christ Jesus. So therefore you’re born again. You died to yourself and this world so you can live a life for God. So, this born again thing, it’s lost with words to a non-believer but can be very powerful in action.
- “Have a blessed day” Are you serious? You have no idea what I’m going through. You have no idea of my struggles, my guilt, my addictions, my hurt. If you knew me then there is no way you can bless my day. To a non-believer it’s almost an insult. Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Maybe we should say that instead of have a blessed day. When you don’t believe then it’s easy to downplay the blessings God has in store for you. But if you believe then Isaiah reminds us in this verse that we can make it through any situation with God on our side.
- “I would like to invite you to church” My shoes would catch on fire if I stepped into a church. If they knew what I had done, where I had been, who I had been with they wouldn’t want me there. I would never put myself in a place like that, what, so I can be judged, condemned, told I was a sinner, no thank you. I’m way past that, there is no saving me, don’t waste your time. Matthew 11:19 “The Son of Man, on the other hand, feasts and drinks, and you say, ‘He’s a glutton and a drunkard, and a friend of tax collectors and other sinners!’ But wisdom is shown to be right by its results.” Jesus didn’t come to the world to condemn your sin; he came to save you from it. A lot of non-believers can’t get their head around this concept. The bottom line is that Jesus excepts you the way you are and wants you to come with your hurts and sins. As Christians we have to have open arms and hearts for those who are lost.
The journey of a non-believer is a long one. The enemy will always fight what God has in store for them. I’ve been down that road before. To my Christian friends, I urge you to be kind, open and generous with your love. We might not always understand why it’s so hard to come to Christ. It’s because we forgot what it was like before him.
Be the lights, don’t just talk about it. If we as followers love one another like Jesus loved us, then we can do what we are called to do. Love is a verb; you must have actions behind it. Let’s show the world what Christians do, not just what they say.