Recently I was reading Elizabeth Rawlings blog post titled “How to be a Christian without being a jerk about it” on her blog Feet in, Arms out.
It made me think about how to have Christian conversations. At times, when I’ve brought up Jesus when talking with folks, I’ve observed changes that occur: there’s glances at watches, beads of sweat on foreheads, the nervous tug at shirt collars and a panicked flicker in the eye, usually only seen in squirrels who have just had a close call with a car. So how can we talk about Christ to others in a way that won’t send them running into oncoming traffic?
A healthy dose of compassion and love is a great place to start. When we truly love the people we’re talking with, we tend to set ourselves aside and engage genuinely. If nothing else, thinking and listening before speaking is a good rule of thumb.
Prayer is always good. I pray for people every day – even those who don’t believe, and just not because they don’t believe. Prayer offers an outlet for contemplation and inspiration and to date I’ve never known prayer to startle small animals.
Finally, don’t use the Bible as a weapon. Not only can paper cuts be annoying, but if you rip the pages you’ll have to get another one.
Mahatma Gandhi is credited with saying “I like your Christ. I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” Probably a bit of a high expectation for us to be exactly like Christ, we’re only human, but try to consider what He might do. Hmmm … seems like there ought to be some sort of saying about that …