Monday, September 05, 2011

If God is Good, Why...?

This is the way many people who struggle to believe - and many who just plain choose to disbelieve - start their questions about Jesus and the Bible. The same questikon can have two completely different impacts on me. When someone is asking it sincerely looking for an answer or for help, it causes me to go right into intercessory prayer for them. When someone asks it to be confrontational and "prove me wrong", it causes me to go right into a prayer for wisdom and protection against what will obviously be an attack against me and my faith. One thing we can't let it do is turn into "fighting words", pitting me against the person I am trying to have a resaonable discussion with. I want to build a bridge for them to cross using wisdom and the word of God as the Spirit leads me, I do not just want to win the argument.

If God is Good, why is there evil? Why do babies suffer? Why do bad things happen to good people? All of these can be causes for genuine confusion for many, and I want desperately to be helpful to them. But some people are just asking these questions to make God appear to be a foolish fantasy, and they are asked with anger, mockery and pretension. This second group of people really tries my patience because they are immediately attacking my faith, assuming they already know what I believe.

In your discussions about your faith, do you find that more people are really trying to understand, or are they just trying to tell you why they don't believe and get you off their backs? Are they peaceful in their approach with you, or do you feel that they are instantly angry at the idea of God? I would love to hear from you how people have responded to your attempts to talk about Jesus with them.


Gerald Huff said...

I've seen or experienced all those types. It's quite common as a truck driver to come across a conversation over the CB radio concerning christianity. Usually it's a confrontational type discussion. One person talking about Jesus Christ/Salvation and the other person is usually adamently against faith in Christ. Quite often you can feel and hear the hostility in that persons voice/speech.

Here is a question for you. As a driver trainer there are certain subjects I am required to stay away from. Religion being one of them. Students are on my truck for 6-8 weeks and unless they bring up the subject I don't discuss it. As a Christian am I wrong or right to follow my employer's rules concerning this?

Ryan Budde said...

That is a good question, Gerald. As times change, I have also changed my view on this a bit. I am finding "confrontational evangelism" to be more divisive than it is helpful. There are moments that God prepares for the listener to be ready and open, and I always try to watch for those - making the most of every opportunity. I think, however, we often try to force God on people, and it ends up building a bigger wall. If they bring it up, they are seeking, and God works in those moments.

So, are you wrong to obey your authority and keep from talking religion in your training setting? I would say, no, you're not wrong, for these reasons: It is right to obey those in authority, confrontational evangelism has potential to be divisive, and God really has to be the One who prepares the heart of the listener.