Back when I was single and seeking a relationship, I often felt frustrated meeting girls. Actually, meeting them never seemed to be a problem – it was catching their interest that was difficult.
It was after several failed experiences that some trusted friends and family members gently asked if I was trying too hard in my pursuit of finding my match.
Certainly, I didn’t think so. I mean, I really believed I had a lot to offer some lucky lady and was bewildered over why I was having so much trouble finding a serious girlfriend. Eventually, someone had the nerve to tell me I was coming across too strong in expressing my interest.
Believe it or not, I had never figured an enthusiastic person such as myself could ever scare someone away. But upon reflection, it appeared I had unknowingly been doing that all along in my dating experience.
Take the Pressure Off
It wasn’t until I changed my style and was more relaxed that I apparently became more appealing and attractive to women.
Acting more naturally and without unintended pressure implied, I came across more confidently and showed my finest colors in just the right manner.
It seems to have worked out, as that woman who had the audacity to suggest I was too strong in my search for love ultimately said “yes,” sharing vows with me before God and our loved ones a few years later. Today, I enjoy Heaven on earth with my wife and our three young children, considering myself dearly blessed.
Yet, as my family knows all too well, living as Christians is tough enough when trying to navigate through all the secular messages and temptations in society. Add to this the Great Commission and one can feel a little conflicted.
Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age. Matthew 28:19-20 NLT
Like dating, introducing faith to others, and especially our children, can be equally daunting and present a challenge not to come across as aggressive or forceful in our invitation.
Imagine you approach someone on the street or at the park with a Bible in hand, quoting Scripture and sprinkling holy water on them. Not only might that be a little awkward, I’m not sure that’s what Jesus meant when He directed His apostles to share the Gospel message and baptize all people.
Time to Step Up By Backing Down
The Easter season has come and gone, but Christians of all branches can ponder both the responsibility and importance of revealing God’s Good News well beyond Pentecost Sunday.
With no more Easter lilies or chocolate bunnies to help draw people’s attention, we are now tested to see how brightly our inner fire burns for Christ by how we spread His Holy Word to our greater community.
But similar to playing the dating game, nobody wishes to be rejected when offering the peace and love of Jesus to their neighbor or someone they meet on the city bus, most of all their children.
So the question is, how do we proclaim the Gospel in our daily living without rubbing people the wrong way? How do we show our kids that a life with Christ is worth pursuing? In other words, how do we draw them towards God and not turn them away from Him?
Words Have Meaning
Notwithstanding Jesus’ Beatitudes and our call to remain true to our faith despite whatever persecution we might endure, how we speak can still carry weight with those around us.
The tongue can bring death or life; those who love to talk will reap the consequences. Proverbs 18:21 NLT
In a time when words like “evangelize” and “minister” are considered more turn-offs than magnets, we must be aware of language when sharing our faith with others, especially kids. Striking a balance between passion and comfort, we can show sincerity in our faith story without overwhelming listeners with details or lingo.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
As the saying goes, “Preach the Gospel at all times and, when necessary, use words.”
With this in mind, we may find it more effective to display discipleship through humble presentation rather than cite our favorite Biblical passage. In so doing, our kids and others we come in contact with may draw more to our invitation to encounter Jesus thanks to our virtuous living instead of a more academic sharing.
No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8 NLT
Acts of kindness, honest efforts in our professional paths, placing the needs of others before our own, and simply how we talk to our children can all serve as perfect complements to sharing faith through words and Scripture.
The Genuine Article
Just as disciples flocked to Jesus based on His righteous yet genuine example, our character and demeanor can serve as an innocent welcome for our children to walk along a path with God.
Being authentic to all can allow them to see and know Christ through our reflection of Him.
Meet Them Where They Are
It has been said, “You can lead a horse to water, but you cannot make him drink.”
Age, personal experiences, peers, and popular culture are just some of the factors that can influence one’s relationship with God. This can be the case, particularly with children or teenagers.
Recognizing not everyone may appreciate or practice faith in the same manner, it is important not to be judgmental or forceful. However, what we can do is simply offer innocent understanding, love, and encouragement for others, wherever they may be in their spiritual life adventure.
Respecting this and patiently journeying alongside our children can provide just enough support that, in time, they might curiously open themselves to discovering the Lord more—doing so on their terms and without feeling pressured—which will lead to a more authentic, personal, and long-term faith.
Mindful of all of these points, we can strive to share the wonder of God’s goodness in our daily living. By encouraging others, and especially our children, through invitation and example to come to know the Lord willingly, we can prove the advantages of inspiration for faith over the imposition of it.