“There’s an element of mystery and the more that sinks into my head and gets into my stubborn heart the more prayerful I become in relating with other people – the more curious I become when relating to people around me.”
Don Everts of Bonhomme Presbyterian Church has spent years talking with skeptical people about the Christian faith. He shares that instead of approaching evangelism with an agenda to shove Christianity on to others, we need to be curious about how the spirit is working and what God is working in others lives.
“It makes me less tense and more free to pray, to see what the spirit is doing, to ask someone. Rather than the very first interaction I need to have with the person on the plane is to give them what I have, rather than that I want to get from them – tell me what is going on in your life.”
We have such urgency — and impatience — to present the truth and force others to accept it. Patience gives people the space to ask and explore. Don writes that patience gives the gift of space and permission to explore.
“Jesus was so good at that! Jesus was great at asking questions. When people asked Him questions He would ask questions back He wanted to engage with folks. And kind of draw them in and learn where they are. I think sometimes we’re impatient because we’re zealous for other people’s salvation. We’re zealous for the truth.”
Don uses an example from real life to drive the point home.
“If you’re walking on the streets and you’ve got a great snack in your hand. Are you going to go up to a complete stranger and try to shove it in their mouth?”
“We intrinsically know they’re going to clench their jaw. They’re going to swat you away! Because they don’t know you. And they don’t trust you, and they don’t know what you’re doing. It’s the same way with the gospel. We’ve got the best gospel. But we can’t just shove it at people. Even if we’re well-meaning in that. People need that process. And so we need to be patient with them.”
“And it turns out the more we try to shove it at people who aren’t ready for it, the more allergic they are going to become.”
Key Scriptures: 1 Kings 18:38-39