I remember the first time a college professor made fun of my faith. I was taking a history class at a small community college, but the professor spent more time talking about his atheistic beliefs than World Civilizations. He would work jabs against Christianity into every lecture. I'd sit there and squirm. I wanted to say something, anything, to make him see the error in his ways.
Finally, halfway through the semester I got up the nerve to say something to the professor. I raised my hand and made a comment about evidence of God's hand in history. The professor listened for 10 seconds, laughed, and then he continued on with his comments. I was embarrassed, and I never spoke up again. Looking back, that incident impacted me. It made me fearful of sharing my faith. I didn't want to be embarrassed, and I got used to keeping my thoughts to myself.
It was only years later that I realized that Jesus understood and dealt with the same thing.
In Luke:20, we see incident after incident of those who were trying to trap Jesus, to discredit him, and to make Jesus look bad in the eyes of the people. Jesus didn't spout off volumes of truth, proving them wrong. Luke 20:8 says, "Jesus said to them, 'Neither will I tell you by what authority I do these things.'"
Jesus knew what I learned—there are some people whose minds will not be changed no matter what we say. They have hard hearts. They listen only to come up with a rebuttal.
As Proverbs 26:4 says, "Do not answer a fool according to his folly, lest you also be like unto him."
Jesus talks about this again in Matthew 7:6: "Do not give what is holy to the dogs, nor throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet and turn around and attack you."
If you come up against someone like my professor you may want to share your faith, but if that doesn't work out, don't let it stop you from reaching out to others who have softer hearts.
When to Share
As a mom of 10 children, one of my greatest desires has been to raise kids who can share their faith. John and I have taken our kids on mission trips. We've encouraged them to be shining beacons wherever they are. We've taught them how to share their faith by knowing what to look for.
How can they do that? By going through these steps when reaching out to others:
- Get them to trust you as a Christian.
- Get them curious about Jesus.
- Get them to ask questions.
- Get them to consider making changes in their own lives.
- Invite them to have a personal relationship with Jesus.*
Jesus knew that there were some people who wanted to hurt Him, to kill Him. Yet He was always on the lookout for those with seeking hearts.
In your own life, know that there will be times when sharing your faith will not be easy or fruitful. There will be times when your words will bounce off hard hearts.
Instead of being discouraged, be like Jesus and look for those who trust you, who are curious and who ask questions. Those are the people worth spending time with. The time you spend with soft-hearted people will hopefully reap eternal rewards!
*These principles are taken from the book I Once Was Lost: What Postmodern Skeptics Taught Us About Their Path to Jesus by Don Everts and Doug Schnapps
Tricia Goyer has written more than 35 books, including both novels that delight and entertain readers and nonfiction titles that offer encouragement and hope. She has also published more than 500 articles in national publications such as Guideposts, Thriving Family, Proverbs 31, and HomeLife Magazine.
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