Today I was thinking about something that happened a few years ago when I was still in college. I had been spending a ton of time studying some of the harder concepts in Theology to grasp. Things about God’s justice and the finer points of salvation. I was really digging into the things that make your nominal believer squirm a little bit.
This had been my focus for a while at this point, and somehow I ended up on the phone with a close friend of mine for many years, but one who I doubt that he is saved. His argument for his own salvation is that he prayed a prayer many years before as a child, but my assessment is that there has been very little fruit in his life that would demonstrate this. He instead lives a life completely contrary to the call of God on a believer. His salvation, though, is not the point of this post, so I will get back to the story.
I don’t remember how we ended up on the phone, but both of us being a couple of years into our college career, that tended to be the topic of conversation. I remember hearing him talk about all the things he had been learning and feeling bad because I didn’t go to a “real college” where I would get all of that kind of cool, hands-on experience.
As the conversation turned to me talking about what I was learning, I thought that it would be a great opportunity for me to share the “deep” things that I’d been learning, and for the next hour or so I rambled on about all of the things I had been learning.
Now, if you knew me in college, I kind of had a reputation for lacking compassion. Honestly, it wasn’t that I really didn’t care about other people, but it was a defensive mechanism on my part to keep people at arms length.
Anyways, all I remember about this phone call was that I, in the most untactful way possible, forced these hard-to-swallow truths that I’d learned onto my friend, who in all honesty didn’t understand the basics of Christianity.
The result? My friend explicitly said, “Well, I know I’m saved. But if that’s God, then I don’t want anything to do with Him.”
Years later, I still look back on that event with dismay, although we are still friends and I have had a lot more chances to give him truth in a more loving a tactful way. But the point I want to make with this story is that sometimes, when we are talking to people, they may very well reject our theology because they disagree. But sometimes they simply reject our theology because we are a jerk.
When you share with people, where is your heart at? Giving them truth to get a notch on your belt? Giving them truth to claim a victory in argument? Or giving them truth because the truth will set them free?
As always, leave your thoughts in the comments.