Eavesdropping isn’t really eavesdropping if the person’s standing right behind you talking loud enough for the guy at the front of the line to hear, right?
A few weeks ago, I was standing in line for a bus, minding my own business, when the young woman behind me started jabbering on about how her ex-boyfriend’s fiancé had invited her to the bridal shower. “That was just weird and awkward.” Her words, not mine. I listened on as she talked about how her old beau’s new girl was a little bit nuts. And as if that wasn’t interesting enough, this fast-talker called the new girl something I totally wasn’t expecting. She called her (gasp) a Baptist (cause evidently Baptists are the worst kind of crazy).
I didn’t look back at her, but I did shush my daughter, so I could listen better.
It turns out one of them (either the boyfriend or the fiancé) had invited her to church once. She said it was cute, she guessed, and to each his own, right? I think I may have cleared my throat at that point or maybe she could just sense the tension growing in me. She back pedaled a little and talked about how those people could believe all that stuff if it made them feel better. She wasn’t one to judge.
And I stood there.
I stood there in front of her desperately wanting to say something that would help her see the reality of God and that he loves her despite her narrow-minded estimation of those who believe in him.
But I didn’t say anything.
I did, however, have a dream that night where I had her pinned against the wall and screamed at her that God loved her and she better believe it.
I know, I know. That’s not a good approach, but it seems like I should have said something. I used to think it was enough for me to write these posts and share the truth that way, but it’s not. I know it’s not. I’ve got to be ready to actually have a conversation with a stranger, but I’m not sure how to get there without practicing on a few first, and I worry that won’t go so well.
One of my friends is always talking about how she’s terrible at talking to people one on one about her faith, but then she shares these stories of triumph after amazing triumph. I’m the person she thinks she is.
Years ago, I was in a Bible study with a Muslim friend of mine when she asked me if it was true that Jesus was the only way. I said yes, but then when she pushed farther and asked, “Does that mean I’m going to hell?” I faltered. I paused, and my mind went blank other than the, “Why yes dear. That’s exactly where you’re going” which didn’t really feel right to say to her. Fortunately there was a college student sitting next to me who eloquently walked the lady through God’s plan for her.
Maybe that’s it. I don’t like giving people bad news. I don’t want to make anyone feel bad. But sometimes you have to, don’t you? Sometimes not saying anything is so much worse than spitting out the truth with ums and uhs.
And maybe bad news is the wrong way to look at it. It is good news after all. “No, you don’t have to go to Hell. Jesus took care of that.” There, that wasn’t so bad.
I shared something with a dear friend of mine today. It was something negative. And when I told her I felt bad about letting her know, she looked me in the eye and said that if I had said nothing, she would’ve felt betrayed by me later when she found out I knew, but didn’t tell her. That’s given me a lot to think about.
I guess we owe it to one another to speak the truth, no matter what.
Who do you need to speak the truth to today?
Speaking the truth always has risks. Evil people are out there, but so are those with whom the gospel, the true gospel, has yet to be shared. There has never been a time in my life when Christians need to be more prepared to let the Holy Spirit guide their thoughts and words when confronted with spiritual ignorance. Prepare, trust and obey. Tell the truth in love. Be prepared to defend your faith, and yourself.
You are a great writer, Mary Beth.