Monday, March 9, 2009

Are Your Feet Dusty?

My brother Derek is no slouch.

When we were children, Derek often achieved As without cracking open a book, whereas I studied for hours on end to hit Bs. And he has his Doctorate from seminary, no small feat, either.

So I usually hit him up first for advice when it comes to chatting with people about my faith.

Today, he surprised me.

He told me to back off of a new relationship that I am forging with an atheist. This person found me via the debate that I described yesterday. He's been emailing me very good questions.

I don't know if you're anything like me, but when someone approaches me, unsolicited, and asks for my viewpoints on Jesus, I get very excited. This is what we long for as Christians, right? We are thrilled to share our experiences with others, and ultimately, we hope that by doing so God will infiltrate their minds and hearts. We want them to know Him as we do. We know the joy we experience from the relationship, and we sincerely long for other people to have that, too.

Because this atheist had some fantastic questions, I wanted to get my doctorate-level brother's take.

And his take was this:

"He strikes me as a smug know-it-all that has already made up his mind and is looking for a fight. Paul talked about this unhealthy interest in debate. Check out I Timothy 6:3-5, or II Timothy 2:14-19. I believe that there are answers to each of his objections, but to what end? You’ll find yourself researching and researching for someone who cannot be convinced anyway. Focus on the receptive ground, the people who are hungry for the truth, and shake the dust off your sandals of those who will not believe. Life is too short and the Kingdom awaits."


I never saw that one coming.

I feel conflicted about this. I think to myself, what if this person is genuinely seeking truth, and what if I turned him away for fear of wasting time?

I've come up with some answers since this exchange earlier today, but before I discuss them, I'd like to know how you handle these situations.

Are your feet dusty?

When do you shake the dust from your sandals and move on?


  1. Over long years of following Christ, I have discovered that in order to stay close to Him, it is necessary to shake off the dust and move on along. The problem with dwelling on the level of the "already convinced" is that you spent hours in debating, in subjecting yourself to negative thinking, in becoming INVOLVED with the mind-set of people who are really smart and are like a "devil in sheep's clothing", that you have lost creative energy and precious debating with those who will never be convined. In reporting, you chased around to 'undercover" the story. Once you had the truth, you printed it and moved on. If a person is geninuely SEEKING truth, they will search up your Christian website and keep on seeking. Otherwise, they will turn the comments among their "already-convince" readers and make a joke of Christ via you. i.e. the posting of cruel comments made about a murder.
    There is too much to read and absorb that is bright and holy and good and positive. FIlling our minds with debate in order to "win" will never convince. It will just stir up more hateful debate. A challenge is fun, but this is a "safehouse" place for Christians to chat about their issues which inpact their holy-living in an unholy world.

  2. It is interesting that you point up my newsroom background. It made me reflect that my personality enjoys the challenge of conquering the impossible. This carries through to the way that I "evanglize," focusing on hard-to-convince people rather than the ones who are open and willing and ready to hear about Jesus.
    This is a great insight about myself to have. I would imagine there are others like me -- perhaps people in similar professions like law -- who would also have the inclination to want to debate the hard-to-convince population. But we should focus on Jesus's words and follow His lead. After all, I think the only high-brow person that received a spotlight in the Gospels was Nicodemus, and it is apparent from that exchange with Jesus that Nicodemus's heart was fallow.
    Very interesting ... good food for thought.

    Anyone else have thoughts on this? Would love to hear them!

  3. Your brother gave some wonderful counsel there, and whilst I dont wish to underestimate it or yourself there is a fine line between both of your positions here.
    Ultimately we can ONLY do what the Lord wishes us to do, so my personal advice is to pray first, pray for the inspiration, the words and the timing. Pray for the person, ask for His will to be done and for the other persons heart to be touched and mind opened if it is THEIR time to be touched by the word of God.
    Sometimes we can do damage when all we are trying to do is Gods work, but I do firmly believe that if we do it in the name of Jesus Christ and through the power of prayer no damage will or can be done at all!! Phenominal eh? :)

  4. Debs,
    You have nailed it!
    Thank you for posting this. Great thoughts here.