Come on. Don’t act like it hasn’t happened to you at least once in your life. You go out to eat with someone and you carefully follow the dietary guidelines about eating things that are good for you. So you order green things – lettuce, spinach, or maybe even a little cilantro in your salsa. You have a great time, and being a good person, you even pick up the check. Then as you get into your car you see it – something green right in your teeth, front and center!
What kind of person would let you sit there, through the entire meal, looking like some freak from the circus! I mean, I have literally decided not to ever eat with people again if they are not the kind of person that could tell me, “Hey Joe, you might want to rinse your teeth a little.” If you care about someone, you will tell them, right?!?!?
I think most of us would do that. If someone gets into the car with us and does not buckle their seat belt, we say something. If you noticed someone’s collar folded improperly in the back, most of us will stop them and make the correction. Or, if someone at the store, someone we don’t even know, leaves a sack on the bagging carousel (or whatever it is called) at Walmart, we are the kind of folks that would say something to them. I mean, we are good people, and we care about others! We would want someone to say something to help us, and so we try to do those kinds of helpful things for others.
What about spiritually? What about issues relating to faith? Are we the friend that will say something if we see something wrong?
I can think of so many times that I have been talking to a friend and have heard them say something that I KNOW is not in scripture… and I said nothing! Maybe I couldn’t remember the passage, or it was complicated, or I thought I might not have time to explain, but I have got to stop using those excuses. That is what they are, they are just excuses.
I have prayed so many times for opportunities. I have asked the Lord to “use me”. Why do we not connect those requests to someone close to us bringing up some current religious issue in our presence?!?!? We listen to them speaking, and then too often we find a convenient way to dodge the difficult subject, or agree when we really know that we shouldn’t.
Now, I am not suggesting that we should scream “No! You are so wrong about that!” I am not telling you we need to be negative or condescending. I am certainly not saying we should say something like, “Hey, you know you are going to hell, right?” Please do not say anything like that!
What I do know is that we should not simply let them continue to follow something that is not God’s plan for their life. We should not keep them happy and comfortable while we know that they are believing something that is not biblical. If we are a true friend, we have to say something, even if it is as simple as “Hey, I am not sure that is right. Could we study about it sometime?”
James 4:17 says, “If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them.” We can’t keep our mouths shut. God has allowed us to hear the truth, and He expects us to say something.
I think that we need to be alert and aware. We need to be looking for a chance to share the truth of God’s word with those we know and count as friends. We won’t share it perfectly, and we won’t know all the right verses. We might even not use all the phrases and words. But, humbly with prayer and careful consideration, we can learn to share the truth with our loved ones.
I Peter 3:15 admonishes us to, “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect”. It is not just the information that we share, it has to be done in such a way that we are modeling Christ for them as we are doing it. The attitude is such an important part of telling them what they need to hear!
It is not easy. We might mess it up if we try. But, it is God’s will that we try anyway. If we do what He tells us He assures us that He is with us. I might fail, but His word will never fail. Our confidence should be in Him, not us.
Keep growing, keep going, and just say something! You will be glad that you did.