Recently, a relative accused me of being overbearing. I know…hard to believe, right? Ok, even I admit that I can go a bit overboard at times. I know I have crossed that invisible line of politeness on more than one occasion. And, to be honest, I do not know if I can stop… at least when it comes to the Gospel.
We have a number of ‘social guidelines’ that applies to discussing things such as religion. First of all, our society has an unwritten rule that one should not do it. And, should one do so, our society expects that person to drop it the moment that the one listening shows any level of discomfort. Furthermore, we have all heard so many phrases such as “You can lead a horse to water but you cannot make him drink.” Since most people already have strong opinions on topics such as religion, it would seem illogical to even bring them up.
So, the fact that I even bring religion up already puts most of my friends on alert. And, as I have recently learned, talking about sugar has a similar effect, although it lacks the stigma associated with discussion about religion.
When one speaks on these topics, some people listen intently and learn. Others just politely nod their head and hope the conversation will move on. And some get upset (a few more quickly than others). If one must bring up such topics, he/she should be able to read these queues and move on when the listener has indicated, through verbal and non verbal cues, that they no longer wish to discuss the topic further.
And bringing up the same topic again, down the road, after given such cues , is the ultimate offense in some circles. This is a line I have crossed a number of times with some of my friends.
I wish to explain why I do…why I break the unspoken, ultimate rules of politeness in not only discussing such topics, but doing so repeatedly when told to stop in one way or another.
Primarily, I do believe that the truth sets us free… free from sin, sickness, hell and death. I have studied the facts, and verified much of it through my own personal walk with God (and on another topic, cutting sugars). When you see friends drowning and dying around you, and you have the solution, it’s hard…super hard, not to say anything, even if you know they do not want to hear it.
With that said, I also know you cannot force truth onto people, no matter how much they may need it. Jesus taught as much. He said that if someone rejects the truth you bring, you should drop it, walk away from them, and find another person to share it with. So, why do I try again?
Two reasons. First, I really have a hard time reading ‘visual cues,’ or ‘reading between the lines.’ My listener could have rolled their eyes, sighed, and given me other clues that they wish I would shut up, and I tend to miss many of those. As a number cruncher, nerd, and guy, I just miss a lot of that. Second, I have a really, really bad memory. I talk to so many people, and stay SO busy in life, I just forget what I have said in the past. So, chances are, if I’m talking to you about sugar, or Jesus a second or third time… I just forgot an earlier conversation. Most of the time, it’s a combination of these two reasons that puts me over that line in most people’s eyes.
On one hand, I do apologize. It’s never my intention to knowingly anger anyone off like that. If you made it crystal clear I should drop a subject with you, I really do try to avoid it moving forward. Granted, when you ask me to stop talking about God, the Lord whom I owe my life and heart to, you really ask me to shut a HUGE part of myself off to you. It amazes me how you have to accept people’s homosexual preferences, lifestyle and talk in our culture, but the moment someone talks about religion and faith in Christ (or even sugar), and people want to kick you out of their lives. People can, and WILL tell you to drop the subjects of faith and sugar, but if they try that with your ‘sexual preferences,’ boy, you can end up in some deep trouble…however, I digress. Regardless, two wrongs do not make a right, and I never intend to be ‘that guy’ who does not drop a topic he’s been asked to.
On the other hand, I also tell my friends… I may bring it up again. I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ. It is the Word of God …the Power of God…that leads to salvation. I would much rather risk offending someone, or talking too much about God, then to risk His judgment because I disobeyed His command to spread the Gospel. I would also not want to face Him, and explain why my friends went to Hell because I was so worried about their reactions, I would not even attempt to share God’s truth with them. Combine that with a short term memory, and mistakes are bound to happen.
In this day and age where our culture teaches (and demands) we tolerate people of all different types, it amazes me how this applies to everything BUT faith in God. With that said, if I have truly offended you because I acted like an overbearing brute, I apologize. If I offended you for simply trying to share the truth of God (or sugar! LOL), then, tough! 🙂 Seriously, I not only spent that valuable time because I care and love you, I also risked our friendship because I know how it can upset people. And, it breaks my heart you do not see and understand that. I pray that one day God will open your eyes.