Hey P. Joon! I’m friends with a lot of non-Christians, which isn’t a big deal most of the the time but today one of my friends saw a picture of a person’s Bible that was all highlighted and said, “what a waste of a life”. I know that I should always respond in love and pray for those that don’t know God, but I can’t help but feel extremely upset (and frankly, angry) over his comment. What do you think is the best way to respond to people you love who insult Christ and the Christian way of life?
Hey! First of all, you have now revealed my secret first name to the blogosphere. Of course, I shall never reveal my middle name. Ever.
I’ll tell you a quick story about your question since I have some unfriendly non-Christian friends as well:
I knew this very aggressive atheist who was the security guard for my old neighborhood, and he went so far as to print out an entire debate on why the Flood in Genesis could not have been real. It was at least a dozen pages. He was mostly respectful, but at times was highly critical and insulting.
I made friends with the other security guards too, and two of them were hardcore Christians. They were very pleasant, older black gentlemen who sometimes prayed for me. One of them once wrote a poem of prayer for me when I was struggling and the other gave me a book on prayer. These guys were legit.
One time I asked one of them, “How do you deal with the atheist guy?”
And he replied simply, “Oh man. You know, he just don’t know. That’s all.”
It was such a simplistic answer, I didn’t know what to think of it. It even felt like he was brushing me off.
But later, I got it.
We just really can’t take these things so personally.
There was a time when Jesus was just about the silliest thing in the world to us. Do you remember? We were much more bitter towards God than we actually recall. But God in His mercy totally opened up our eyes and uppercut our soul. Now we can’t imagine life without Him, but the insults of a non-Christian to our In-Love-With-Jesus-Hearts will be hurtful. It’s like someone talking about my mom, my brother, or my best friend.
But again, I keep reminding myself: They just don’t know. That’s all.
The only reason it’s an issue is because they don’t know. If they DID know, we wouldn’t be talking about it. So either way, it shouldn’t ruin your day.
Sometimes I ignore the harsh comments. Other times I bring up mutual respect, because even the most angry atheist can understand human dignity (God did put that in them, which is ironically hilarious). So if someone sees a highlighted Bible and rolls their eyes, I simply reply, I can respect that. There’s a lot stupider out there than a highlighted Bible.
And no matter how they respond to that, remember: They just don’t know.
Instead of being offended or angry, that instead should give us a heart of love and grieving. They will notice that. They will see your patience. Your response will be a walking testimony of who Jesus is.
If you respond with anger, there is a ZERO percent chance they will ever hear about Jesus from you. But patience, love, respect, reasonable calmness: there is a slight chance you might be able to pierce that ice-cold shield. I’m not saying we should talk about Jesus only when we’re comfortable, but we must earn the right to be heard.
While you remain loving, pray for the opportunity and the boldness to share Christ. Everyone naturally hates Jesus but everyone is looking for him: they just don’t know. When the time comes and your friend realizes the hate in his heart, he might ask you some things about the love you have. It might not happen soon, or ever, but be ready for that, too.