“And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” Mark 16:15
Easier said than done. Most people do not want to talk about God; it is a tall hurdle to jump over. However, what do you do when people knock on your door and want to share their faith?
I have taken a couple Christian apologetics classes. Apologetics is a branch of theology devoted to the defense of the Christian Faith. Defending not just our doctrines (ex: why is salvation by grace alone?) but also defense in comparison to other religions (why do we believe that Jesus is the Son of God and not another prophet like the Islamic faith?). It is a fascinating study; there is a lot of history, scripture and study of other religions involved. In my head, I had little arguments that I was ready to use…until someone knocked on my door.
Two young missionaries (I am not going to mention their religion because it doesn’t really matter for this story) knocked on my door and wanted to share their faith. It was -5 degrees outside, they had traveled by bike, and were going door to door. I first invited them in because it was so cold outside; I honestly felt bad. The first meeting was short, since I was in a hurry, but I invited them to come back. Since then they have been in my home 4 times. I have learned a lot from our interactions.
If you are ever in that situation, I wanted to share some tips that I hope will help you:
Always try to:
- EXCEED IN POLITENESS: Remember that you are a child of God and represent the Christian faith, also remember that they have probably had a lot of people shut the door in their faces. If you feel comfortable, invite them into your home; if not, at least offer them some water.
- ”BE PREPARED TO GIVE AN ANSWER to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect,” 1 Peter 3:15. Even if you don’t invite them into your home, take a few minutes to talk to them. Tell them that you are saved, that you are no longer searching and have found the truth in Jesus Christ. Your confidence might come to a surprise to them because a lot of people are still searching.
- BE HONEST. If you don’t want them to come anymore, thank them for their hard efforts and maybe pray with them (try to lead the prayer yourself). If you want to continue to talk to them and invite them into your home, then be honest about where you stand with your faith. When the missionaries came, I told them “You are welcome in my home, this is what I believe (long explanation) I am set in my faith. If you want to talk, we can talk, but I don’t want you guys to feel like you are wasting your time”
If you invite them into your home, realize that:
- ATTACKING THEIR FAITH IS THE WORST THING YOU CAN DO. When we scheduled the second meeting, I took all my apologetics class books and I was going to review their religion and come up with a great argument. I decided against it, I wanted to break down walls, not fortify them.
- THE SPIRIT WILL HELP, JUST ASK. After praying, I felt that I would be unprofitable talking about their faith; instead through my prayers, I realized that I needed to talk about grace.
- REALIZE THAT THERE IS A LANGUAGE BARRIER. The Bible’s version of God, Jesus, grace, salvation, Heaven, etc. might be different from their own version. While I didn’t review their religion, I did review what they believed grace meant (since I wanted to bring it up in our meeting), and it turns out it was very different.
- IT’S NOT ABOUT YOU WINNING… in fact, you will not win. Only the Spirit can win. It’s not about winning the argument or converting them to Christianity (that can lead to either pride or anger).
- IT’S OKAY IF YOU DON’T KNOW THE ANSWER. Just say “I am not sure, but let me find out and I will get back to you”… Ask your Pastor, look in the Bible, look online and make sure you get back to them.
- YOU MIGHT BE PLANTING A SEED. Maybe you don’t see a result at all, but we don’t see how God sees. You might be planting a seed in their hearts that will grow well after your time together has passed.
- BE HONEST WHEN YOU WANT THEM TO STOP. Many of them might start to send you different people (maybe people that are more “knowledgeable” in their religious sect). If it looks like you are going in circles or it’s affecting your life, just politely ask them to stop, again be extra polite, and tell them why.
But most importantly, PRAY FOR THEM & PRAY WITH THEM (try to lead the prayer yourself)!!
Who knows, you might have helped them be saved and all because you offered them a cup of water.
Lots of Love,