Last week I had the rare chance to hang out with my auntie Kia. I love hanging out with her. She loves talking to people. I wish I could engage people with such ease and grace. Plus, her voice is deepish with an Eartha Kitt “purr”. It’s sultry, everything she says sounds saucy, lol.
Being with Auntie Kia and other extroverts that God has put into my life, shows me how easy it is for her to engage people. I worry too much that I might sound stupid, or I feel like I have a booger hanging out my nose, or that people just want to be left alone. But, this is just my over-analytical mind playing tricks on me. I’m just asking God to give me holy boldness like Peter, so I can talk to people without feeling self-conscious.
But anyway, the purpose of this post is to share what I encountered when I was out with my Auntie.
This might be a long story so bare with me.
We were waiting in line and behind me was an older woman who was giving words of encouragement to a few people waiting in line with us. Her words were accepted and some of the people in the line began to share their testimonies, as more people joined in the conversation–about ten of us in all–the conversation turned from testimony service to a conversation where a man’s faith could have been strengthened.
The older woman was the most vocal of the group, by the way she spoke about the Lord, you could tell she’d been in the church for a long time. There was a man who was built like a bulldog, short and stocky up top. He was originally from down South and in the Navy. He had a friend with him that looked like he belonged in an episode of “A Different World.” Then there was a tall black brother who looked much younger than he is. (“Black don’t crack” does not only apply to women, black men age very well also.) I thought he was younger than me, so when I heard him speak I thought this young man is very articulate and he’s able to convey his thoughts very well. Then he said he was 46. What? Here I am thinking you are in he’s in his mid-twenties and he has a full decade on me. Damn.
Then there was me, I really didn’t contribute much more than a “that’s right” or a “that is so true” here and there. There were a few others like me, including Auntie Kia.
So the older lady is telling us how her son was very sick with cancer that should have killed him. She prayed, kept the faith, and never stop trusting God. God delivered him from cancer and he’s been in remission for twenty years. She says, “God let him live so that’s why I thank Him every day…”
So young-looking, old guy says, “See right there, that’s my problem with all this religion stuff…. God let him live. Why does God LET bad things happen? Why do God LET babies get AIDS?”
He goes on to tell us that he WAS saved, which we all interjected, once saved you are forever saved.
He goes on to tell us that he was a Muslim but he converted to Christianity when he was incarcerated. While he was locked up his mother was diagnosed with cancer. His release date was some months away, but he prayed he could see his mother before she died. His mother’s condition worsened and he prayed harder. Three months before he was due to be released his mother died. Because of this, he says, “he’s done with all religion, Christianity, Islam ‘all of it.’”
Then he says, “in order for him to be alright with God, God would have to tell him why He LET his mother died before he had the chance to see her one last time.”
Here we are, an intimate group of faith believing people, hearing one of our brethren tell us that his faith has wavered. (Hey, it happens, especially after losing a loved one.) Everyone in the conversation, do what most faith believing people do when learning that someone has lost faith, they bombard him with good intentions and exclamations of God wondrous ways.
They start off by sharing how they lost their mothers and other loved ones. Everyone in that circle had lost their mother, so we could relate to the man’s grief. Auntie Kia shared how she found the peace to come to terms with the loss of her mother. The older woman shared some scripture with commentary, but nothing they were saying was addressing the man’s issue with God.
The older woman tried her hardest to get the man to see her point that God gives you comfort and he’ll talk to you when you need it, which is true and he may have needed to hear it, but she was using that as her sole response.
Here’s my thing, Scripture is needed. Knowing your bible is essential for our journey with Christ. It should be the foundation when communicating with people. But, I don’t think Scripture needs to be in the forefront of every conversation you have with people. There are people who I try to have a conversation with and everything has to be referred to scripture. It’s like you can’t have a normal conversation without hearing, “in such and such book, verse and number, it says God has done this, then He did that, and He is great. He loves you, it’s in the Word.”
In my head I’m saying,” remember, even the enemy knows scripture. Just because you can quote it doesn’t mean much to what I’m talking about”
The best way to show that you know the Word is to live life accordingly. Being able to quote it don’t mean jack.
In the end, a great opportunity was lost to help renew that man’s faith. I feel like he walked away saying it just the same-ole-same-ole. And I’m the most guilty of all because I knew what they were saying wasn’t being accepted by the man. I could tell that he wanted something less convoluted, less abstract than scripture. But I didn’t say anything. I just stood there watching the progression of the conversation.
I feel like he walked away saying it just the “same-ole-same-ole”. And I’m the most guilty of all because I knew what they were saying wasn’t being accepted by the man. I could tell that he wanted something less convoluted, less abstract than scripture. But I didn’t say anything. I just stood there watching the progression of the conversation.
And I’m the most guilty of all because I knew what they were saying wasn’t being accepted by the man. I could tell that he wanted something less convoluted, less abstract than scripture. But I didn’t say anything. I just stood there watching the progression of the conversation.
I pray that I see him again so I can say something to help him find his faith again.
What about you, what would you have said to strengthen his faith? Do you think scripture should be in the forefront when engaging people?
May God be with you until we meet again.