Before I went to Afghanistan, I heard lots of advice about how to share God’s love and truth with people. Most ideas went something like this; if I’m really good, different, kind, loving and generous, my Afghan neighbors will see I’m different and ask me about my faith.
Now that’s a big jump!
In truth, my Afghan neighbors saw my good efforts and just assumed I was really good person. That was nice, but not very helpful for them.
The other idea is related…I’ll earn the right to be heard by being a good person for a long time.
Wait. If I’m trying to tell someone they’re really lost and going to hell, that their dead parents are already in hell and that their whole religious system is a disaster, then I don’t think I can ever be good or loving or kind enough! Maybe you can, but I certainly can’t.
Maybe the whole discussion hinges on how we understand the love and truth we want to share.
What happens if I ask the question differently…. how good do I have to be to tell someone that God loves them? How generous and culturally relevant do I have to be to tell someone God wants to forgive their sins, wash away their shame and adopt them as his children? How long do I have to know someone before I can be honest about my own faith?
When I put the questions this way, the answers seems so much clearer.
I can be honest and open about my faith from day 1 because it’s my faith! I can tell someone God loves them from day 1, too. After all, he does and being loved is a really, really good thing. And as for God’s desire to forgive, cleanse and adopt, well, I don’t see why I can’t say that, too.
Sharing God’s love and truth isn’t about me. It isn’t about how good or kind or culturally relevant I am. It’s just good news, free to receive or reject or, as is most often the case – free to consider.
I can go with that. How about you?