We have two forbidden topics in our culture: religion and politics. But somewhere along the line, people started talking about politics. Maybe somewhere along the line, we figured out how to discuss our views like reasonable adults without attacking each other to improve understanding of each other and relate better to one another–that, or we just don’t keep our opinions and beliefs to ourselves very well.
That being the case, since our entire worldview revolves around our understanding of Who God is and how He relates to us, it makes sense that we should be able to discuss our understanding of our place in the universe with each other, but we can’t expect to just walk up to a random person on the street or in the office and have that deep of a conversation. So here are some tips to that end:
- Don’t treat people like merit badges. You don’t earn points with God for sharing the Gospel (you don’t need to–Jesus already earned everything for you), so don’t accumulate “targets” the way businesses try to accumulate customers.
- Love people, and don’t just love them so you can share the Gospel with them. Love them as Christ loved them by being a good friend.
- Instead of going out and looking for “targets,” look at the friends you have now. How can you be a better friend, and how can you develop deeper relationships with those friends? (Hint: Think about the people everyone likes because of their generosity, the “would give you the shirt off his back” kinds of people) Follow that example with your friends.
- Be real with people. Listen to them, and when you can offer comfort in bad times, remember that there’s no better comfort than the promise of the resurrection and eternal life. Let your friends know that it really is going to be OK.
But what if that opportunity doesn’t come? You don’t want to wish for something bad to happen to someone so you can provide comfort in the Gospel! Here are some hot current topics, though, that have a spiritual element, and if one fo these topics surface, don’t be afraid to offer some Godly wisdom into the conversation:
- Gay marriage: it’s not what God wants, because He wants so much more for us, to know the love He’s shown us in Christ.
- Health Care: the Bible doesn’t give direction as to how the government should proceed, but since God loves us, how can we help people on a local level while we wait for the government to figure out which direction it’ll go?
- War in the Middle East: discuss the importance of praying for both our troops and our enemies, that God would thwart evil plans and bring peace and healing
- The economy: share your assurance that, even without employment, God will take care of you, and that our problems are nothing compared to His problems
If you’re interested, let me suggest an activity for your family: as you watch the news together, discuss each story with each other and how we as Christians can respond. How does our assurance of God’s love and the promise of the resurrection affect the way we understand that story. A DVR (like a TiVo or similar devices) comes in handy for this, but otherwise, use mute buttons during the commercial breaks for these conversation opportunities. Parents, this is a great and simple way for you to pass on your values in a very practical way to your children.
What other topics or tips do you have? I welcome your comments.