Uh, hold up. Stop for a minute. Whaaaaat?
“Yep! If you really think I’m in danger of burning eternally, why aren’t you trying harder to convince me?” said the Atheist. “There should be a line across the street from my house!”
I found it very weird, when I came across this (paraphrased) question by an Atheist on his blog. I could think of quite a few reasons why more people were not trying to break down his door to save him from eternal damnation.
- I’m quite sure a few good messengers had already been sent to him, who he disregarded and probably chewed up and spat out;
- There are many more people like him in desperate need of salvation, and if you had a choice between going to get chewed up, or going where you are more likely to get received, many would prefer to go where the grass is greener (so to speak);
- It could be that those around him need salvation themselves, but they think they are all quite alright;
- Or maybe those Christians around him really do not care enough to evangelise;
- Also, I do believe that at some point, God stops sending people to you! Maybe when you smell the smoke of your burning house, you will get a clue and dash out.
But does he actually have a point? Despite what I perceive to be blatant insincerity, I do believe he has a point in that number four is a common phenomenon among many professing Christians. Most of us seem quite comfortable in our salvation, we don’t really get hot and bothered about the many unbelievers who are destined to a life of eternal separation from God. Many of us are more concerned with what God will do for us to make our lives more comfortable and beautiful, with only a few who are actively serving among the poor, sick and the lost.
Though we all know for a certainty that we will die one day, everyone seems to live in denial of this fact! We are not constantly tormented about our future death or the impending demise of our loved ones, nor are we consumed with trying to prolong their lives. In a similar way, Christians are also consumed with the present, and do not wake up plagued with a burden to save everyone from the coming judgment. Often, it is all many can do to keep themselves from sin and being corrupted by the world. Does that mean that the threat of eternal fire and brimstone is not real? Nope, not at all. It just means that we are human, prone to distraction, unfaithfulness and selfishness. Like Paul said, many of us still desire milk (Heb 5:12), when we should have graduated to meat and leadership!
Seeing as Jesus said the road is narrow and all (Matt 7:14)…it is also conceivable that there are far less Christians than those who profess to be. This is a big problem because many who we should be preaching to are lying that they are already saved, so we think the work is done when it is far from it. This is deceptive not only for true believers, but for the world that is expecting an impact that only a substantially higher number of labourers would accomplish! Even so, I suppose there are also genuine believers who have fallen asleep on the job. Thinking of myself, though, there are a few reasons I no longer hit the pavements or knock on doors.
- It is no longer an effective use of time, and time is also a tool of the trade when witnessing;
- You get ignored, have doors slammed in your face, insulted…and at the end of the day nobody actually pays any attention to you;
- Many people say they have already heard, or they are already saved, or they belong to another religion, while some waste your time, knowing they have not interest in what you are saying…often so they can push their own agenda across to you;
- Family and friends get angry and tired of hearing you talk about Jesus, sin and repentance. So you stop talking to them about those things, and just stick to praying for them;
- Changes in culture means that it is highly offensive to approach people to tell them about Jesus, and in certain places, it is a life and death expedition;
- More people feel that living a good lifestyle is the most effective witness, so they try to let their actions do the talking, and speak to those who engage them in discussion about their faith.
What more people prefer to do, these days, is witness online, through blogs and chat rooms. I did chat rooms years ago. That’s another minefield. Everyone comes in with their agenda ready for an argument. Few people are listening to learn something. Often times, you come out feeling deflated, challenged and/or angry. There’s rarely a sense of accomplishment, because someone has come to Christ due of your efforts. The problems with door to door knocking is still felt, when you get lots of rejections by people who say they are already saved, uninterested or have their own passionate religious views they would like to convert you over to. It can be emotionally exhausting. Blogging appears more effective for me. However, I really can’t tell you how effective it is.
Yes, I am really quite safe here, comfortable in my house, sending messages and hoping that someone who needs to read them or who needs to hear about Jesus, and is open, will do so. Problem is, most people who do read my words already believe like I do, and I can’t deny that I get thrills when they like my posts. But I am yet to receive a comment from someone who has been reading one, two or more of my blog posts and became saved or was even simply challenged to learn more about Christ (if you’re out there, please say something!). Yes, I am glad that my writing encourages my brethren, but it would make me soooo happy, if an Atheist or an unbeliever was convicted because of something I wrote too. But, I don’t denigrate what I do. I am sowing seeds, and just like the person who knocks on doors…once in a while, it bears fruit! That being said, I and other Christians can certainly do more.
However, if this is truly an appeal for people of faith to prove their faith and love for mankind by witnessing, it would be great if the secular world showed a sincerity and readiness to receive our messages by:
- Restoring Religious education in schools so that children get exposed to religious ideas early;
- Scrapping laws that restrict street evangelists from preaching on the streets or distributing their literature in public places;
- Removing censorship of God, Christ and other references to faith in media (like TV shows and movies), which (incredibly) freely allow regular mentions of f**k and s**t and the like!
I’m just saying…since you are asking us to do more to reach out to you, it would help if you unblocked your ears and stopped giving us the cold shoulder.
If you are reading this, and you are an Atheist, and you are thinking that Christians are not trying hard enough to save you, maybe you should consider that many Christians are already actively using multiple platforms to reach out to the lost (which includes you). Maybe the next time you do happen to open the door to a believer trying to spread the gospel, you will be kinder. Even if the message is not for you, a nice smile or an offer of tea should encourage them to continue reaching out to other people.
However, if you are among those complaining that we keep shoving our religion down your throat, I hope you will understand if you don’t see us for a while. Cheers!
Photo credit: http://www.pastordave1957.blogspot.com