The tough questions
by Michael Wilmot
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The danger of trying to witness to technical people is that they can ask some unexpected questions. The “what if” questions and absurd ones like “Can God make a rock so heavy he can’t pick it up?” are not meant to obtain information. They are used to make light of the message and the messenger but there is not much you can do to prevent your heathen guest from asking them. The best advice I can give you is to search for the high ground and maintain dignity as you can.
Every now and then you are going to get a real question that, for you, will be hard to answer. I want to warn you against giving any answer in a crisis if you really do not know the truth of it. You are just setting yourself and the faith up for contempt if you do. I think it is always better to pause, ponder and punt instead of sweat, squirm and spurt.
I ride share with a good friend now and then and we have had a lot of chances to talk on the hour long ride to and from work. On the commute we often console each other in a variety of ways. We are both husbands and fathers with all the burdens that come with those roles. We have questioned our careers and where we are in life in general. We have had our fair share of crisis situations that threaten the very foundation of our lives and we have shared them together. I have had a lot of close friends but the relationship we have developed over the years is one of the strongest I have ever had.
My friend is not a Christian and is extremely opinionated as to why he feels the faith has no value to him. The church has to take it on the chin a bit in his case because he used to be a very active member in a local church. It is said that the biggest problem in Christianity is other Christians and my friend suffered the affects of church infighting and hypocrisy which drove him away. I pray often that God would let me have the perfect words to give him to bring him back into the fold. But I always seem to fumble a bit when we talk about these things.
He knows where I stand and has been a great motivator for me to live my faith. I am not perfect but I do seem to try harder to project Christ when I am around him. I try to do that always but with my friend I seem more aware of what I am doing. I know that he will judge the Christian faith by what he sees in me. This is a huge responsibility and I had better be worthy of it. One day, on That Day, I will have to account for this relationship.
The other day he asked me a question that I found hard to answer at first. He asked “If you have two guys living side by side in all respects are living the same life in appearance. They pay their bills, are friendly and helpful, their kids are well behaved and so on. The only difference is that one attends church and the other does not. To the outsider looking at them, what is the compelling reason that they should follow the church attendees’ example?”
I am not sure why this was important to him, but I believe it was asked in honesty. This was not an easy question for me because there was a lot of truth in what he said about Christians. Very often we do not project that image of difference to the world. The situation reminded me of the question “Is there enough evidence to convict you in a court of the crime ‘Possession of Christian Values’?”
I offered him this answer. “It is true that there are more Christian fans then there are Christian players. But for those that are living the life you should see more differences in them than just church attendance. You should see someone that is living for others instead of living for self. Someone that is trying to live the five purposes of Christianity: worship, fellowship, ministry, discipleship and evangelism. If you don’t see this then I would not follow them either.”
I hope he sees these things in the life my family is living.
Credit for the five purposes of Christian Living: Rick Warren
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