It was nineteen-seventy-something and a bunch of us youth were all together, ready to go to a 2nd Chapter of Acts concert.
For those of you under a hundred years old, we were not going to see a page from the Bible up on stage. This was the name of a band/singing group.
More than half of our youth group was going, along with a few invited friends. One invited friend was an interesting character. He was smart, sure of himself and…look out…he was an atheist.
There are few titles in the minds of many Christians that come equivalent to naming Satan, himself. Atheists have been pegged as being agents of the Devil and accused of being out to do away with Christianity. They (along with folks from LGBT community and Planned Parenthood) are often accused of having certain agendas, conspiring against Christianity or the United States (which some seem to think is supposed to be a “Christian Nation”).
Oh, please. The only specific agendas I have known are by some Christians who want to turn the U.S. into some sort of moral Christian utopia.
As for our Atheist guest – Art – he was pretty sharp. As a few of us talked with him, he explained his reasoning for being an atheist. We, on the other hand, did our best to prove to him God existed. Art was able to counter all of our claims and posed questions we could not answer.
We were naive. Maybe edging toward stupid. Arguing gets no one, anywhere, fast.
Our “calling” is not to argue God’s case. We were never called to prove Him to anyone. God is perfectly capable of revealing Himself. For some reason, as we do with other areas of life, we feel it is our duty to be His deputies and prove or defend Him.
No one needs to be held down and convinced of anything. We don’t need to stress and strive to pull people to “our team”. Our “mission” is not to make converts or convince people to “pray the Salvation Prayer”. Our mission is to share the Gospel, by living it. It is not about being silent about Jesus, but Him and His love shining through us.
Love. Friendship. Respect. Love people, give them friendship and respect where they are, what they believe and how they feel.
What? Respect an Atheist? Should I also respect them gays? What about pro-choicers? I suppose you think I should respect druggies and loose women! They’re all heathens!
And to that, I extend; shut up!
Jesus loves everyone, even people who don’t believe in Him. If He were walking the Earth, “those people” would be among his circle of friends. Why do we think we are better than He?
Back to that concert night. I really could not understand why someone would invite a self-proclaimed Atheist to a Christian music concert. I mean, bring him to a barbecue, or something. Actually, the fact that he came at all is pretty amazing.
Well, God is bigger than that.
There was an altar call. I could just picture Art, sitting there, with his arms folded across his chest, silently mocking, as “suckers” would “blindly” accept a non-existent deity.
I had the wrong picture.
Art was one of the first people to run up for the altar call.
I did not have to convince Art. No one had to convince him of anything. Nobody had to prove anything.
God revealed Himself. Without anyone’s help. It is one of those amazing things He does. When He reveals Himself, it is a matter of the heart. We can only reach the surface, with words or deeds. These are good and necessary and can begin a heart-preparing process. However, God does His own special heart surgery.
Our job is to love. Out of love, we do things beyond ourselves. Yes, share about Him. But, we don’t have to “prove” Him to anyone.