A few weeks ago, I ran into a friend of mine who is a former member of a church that I served several years ago. I asked him if he was still going to that church. He replied that it was complicated & would take a while for him to explain. We exchanged numbers with the hope that we could get together for lunch. The following week, I invited him to lunch, but he had a conflict on the day that we were to meet. So we rescheduled. I also texted him & invited him to join us here at CWBC for the crucifixion service. In response to that, he texted me & shared with me that he had abandoned the Christian faith several years ago, & gave me the web address of his blogsite, where he regularly writes about his disdain for evangelical Christians, the Bible, & anything else that is connected to the Gospel & Jesus Christ. Finally, on the day we were to meet for lunch the 2nd time, he ended up getting sick.
And then, much to my surprise, as I was reading one of his blog entries, I found a screenshot of my text inviting him to Country Woods for the crucifixion service, with a caption beneath that read: “Do you have any idea how weird this sounds?” How cool to be mentioned in an atheist’s blog!
My answer to his question? I am not at all surprised at how weird that sounds to him (now that I know the condition & position of his heart). The Bible says that an unspiritual man cannot understand spiritual things because they are spiritually discerned (1 Cor. 2:14). A well-intentioned, sincere invitation, motivated by the love of Christ & my faith in Him, was twisted by the enemy, who has blinded my friend’s mind (2 Cor. 4:4), causing him to define my invitation & the truth of the crucifixion as “weird.” John 10:10 tells us that the thief comes to “steal, kill, & destroy,” which is exactly what the enemy has done in my friend’s life in a multitude of tragic ways. My heart is heavy for my friend, & for so many others who have walked away from the ONE who will always love them with an unconditional love.
So, Christ-followers, let me ask you to commit to doing 3 things:
- Pray for my friend & for others who have walked away from Jesus.
- Love them unconditionally as best as you can! We will fail in this from time to time (& they’ll be quick to let us know when we do!), but do the very best you can in this area!
- Be OK with being “weird.” It’s just part of following Christ & always has been. Don’t be intimidated by those who have been “freed” from the Christian faith. Understand that we are living in the times that Paul wrote about in 2 Timothy 3 & 4, & keep pressing on.