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No Apologies: Day 3

…But do this with gentleness and respect…
I Peter 3:15

The reason my friend told me the dinner party story was so that I would join her in a victory lap. As she said, “I was so proud of myself. When he finished the story, I didn’t fly out of my chair, grab him by the collar and say, “You said WHAT?”

You see, my friend has a high, high view of Scripture and a deeply emotional response to those who undermine the Authority of the Bible. To call into question the Creation account or the Words of Christ are fighting words and she will go down with the ship.

For her, the word of the day might be “gentleness.”

I have a different problem. I believe that if I can give people enough facts, cite enough experts, share enough examples, I can win them to my point of view.

The word for me is “respect.”

Unfortunately, neither passion nor reason is God’s preferred means for getting the job done, but only the power of the Holy Spirit. Something that happened many years ago helped me understand this better.

I was a part of an Evangelism Explosion team. As you may know, EE is an organization that trains Christians to share their faith according to a proven presentation. The trainees learn more of the “script,” then meet each week in teams to visit homes, either cold-calling or with an appointment, and share that week’s lesson. In the early stages, the team trainer both guides and completes the presentation. Finally, the team answers any questions and offers to pray for any needs of the household.

This evening, we arrived at the lovely home of a lovely lady. It was my turn to present and since we were at the end of training, I was responsible for the entire presentation. Our hostess was receptive to and agreeable with all I had to say. Then came the question segment. For the next hour and a half (until we had to call “time” and say goodnight) she talked about every major world religion, UFO’s and probably twenty other topics I have since forgotten. As far as I know, she was no closer to new life in Christ when we left than when we walked in the door.

In the exchange something quite extraordinary happened. God enabled me to answer every objection, refute every argument and listen with patience and love. Even my EE buddy gave me high marks.

But on that night God did something far more important than making me adequate for the occasion. He showed me that you can never argue, persuade or reason anybody into the kingdom.

Nancy Shirah 

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