I had an experience this morning, while doing the other things I was doing, which prompted a slight change to today’s schedule. So I was unable to do my normal devotion. SOOO instead of just trying to write a devotion I wanted to share this new concept that I feel is incredible: Love as Apologetics.
Today, I posted “Apologetics:
What it is: (thank God) defend what you believe when asked.
What it isn’t: our responsibility to prove God exists to unbelievers. 😉”
When I was younger I thought of apologetics as a logical dance between two people. Trying to figure out how to logically deduce which is correct so that the other individual can shift thoughts. With that, I had always thought of the focus on details in Scripture, proof for creation, etc. A few years ago I realized that no one is going to be logically convinced of God, most people are making leaps of faith to NOT believe in Him. SO I shifted to focusing on truly treating it as though I am harvesting a ready field. Farmers don’t go out and petition the crops to be ready. They harvest the ones that are ready when it is time and if a few have not grown properly they are left behind. That’s what God calls us to do. The harvest is plentiful but workers are few. The harvest is ready! We don’t have to figure out how to change a tare to wheat. We are simply to go out and harvest those who are ready.
The reality is though that unbelievers are going to attack you for your faith, so what do you do then? What do you do when someone is clearly not crop ready for harvest. Do you walk away and not even say a word? That’s where today’s experience has shifted my mind even more!
Someone began belittling me, and every Christian that exists, for my views on God’s existence, the lack of need in PROVING God, and called our view (that man is naturally negative) as depressing. Generally christians think THIS IS THE TIME TO DEFEND MY FAITH AND PROVE IM RIGHT! Yet again, God calls us to harvest READY crops…
Instead of arguing I mentioned, I can see their point of view and above all the things I believe I am called to respect and love people OVER smacking them in the head with my beliefs. I mentioned that my worldview leaves room for people to disagree and still treat them with respect. I then pointed out that IN MY PERCEPTION it seemed like the other person’s world view couldn’t do that. I asked for them to clarify their world view as my observation may be a little off. They responded with more attacks on my person versus addressing the things at hand, and called every experience they assumed I have ever had which shaped my belief in God a blatant lie I am using to mislead people.
I realized something. My main tool now when it comes to “traditional apologetics” (our response when challenged by an unbeliever about our faith) is just to be super understanding, loving, and mention that my worldview requires me to love people, and gives me the ability to see past my presuppositions and love someone who disagrees. This gives the opposing party an sense of introspective evaluation, they begin to realize the truth in their own heart and the glaring issue in their worldview: they have an inability to love someone in a conversation about God.
Now they will not admit this, and often will just respond with more hate and insist on attacking your character. However, the following tactics are so wonderful in leading someone to see their own discrepancies: they accept everyone… except Christians. They can love and respect everyone… except Christians. This COULD lead them to being exposed as a piece of that ready harvest, they had just been incredibly mislead and controlled by the enemy.
These are the tactics:
- Continue to just be super loving, caring, and respectful (Make sure to not patronize them)
- Mention the true Gospel (God exists, we are naturally inclined to hate/evil, God died to cover the debt made by that issue, and the only requirement to accept that payment is to believe what that the aforementioned is true) NOT we are good, better, or literally anything else.
- Mention repeatedly that not only do we see the logic in their view but our worldview tells us to respect them for it AND gives us the ability to do that
Their worldview which is based in Satan who desires to destroy Christ and His Love will prove to be incompatible with truly accepting and respecting you or anyone else who loves God. It prompts this new question in their mind. How can someone be so loving when I am being so mean, and why can’t I do that?
Keep in mind that just because they aren’t outwardly hating you for your view, they will inwardly be irritated and mad at you for JUST sharing your perspective. Lots of people hate people but are not bold enough to be mean. SO trust that John 3:20 is true even if they are a really passive person: “Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed
Loving someone and showing them that you have that ability to do so even when being ridiculed is simply far better than trying to prove something to be true (God, a need for a moral compass, or the creation narrative). God has asked us to share the Gospel… not try to prove He is real. This, in my mind, seems to be the best approach at this time for me.
I wanted others to apply this, if they feel it is good for them. I feel this is the best avenue as it is loving, and affirming them as a person. We are not at war with THEM, we are at war with the spirits leading them to hate us. When they realize that they have literally no ability to be respectful they will realize there needs to be a change. MOST will assume the change is just more self control so that they can better argue in the future. SOME, those who are being drawn to the Lord by His Love and acceptance, will realize their own brokenness and cry out to the Lord. You may never see this, but one day they will stand in front of God and be accountable for that conversation. Love people. Respect people. Focus on the Gospel not just the law. The law wasn’t sent to save it was sent to show us what God required for a Savior, and that none of us lived up to it. Sharing the GOSPEL and LOVE is how we partner with the Lord in His reconciliation mission. Reaping the Harvest is easier using the right tools!