“What’s that symbol tattooed on your back?” I asked the girl I worked with. I knew, I thought, what it was, but had not seen one that elaborate. “It’s a pentagram,” she replied. “I’m a Pagan.” “Oh, well I don’t judge,” were my initial words. She said, “I know.” I wasn’t exactly sure why she said that, but she did.
Because of my cautious and prayerfully planned out approach to the inquisition, I found out later it’s what I “didn’t say” that allowed for an ongoing conversation concerning her beliefs and spiritual practices vs. my own to take place.
Now, you may find it odd knowing a Christian is even talking to a Pagan, but I ask you, “Why?” Jesus was misunderstood for talking to tax collectors, or prostitutes, and he about gave the so called “religious leaders” of his day, a heart attack if he dined with them.
Later when Jesus was eating supper at Matthew’s house with his close followers, a lot of disreputable characters came and joined them. When the Pharisees saw him keeping this kind of company, they had a fit, and lit into Jesus’ followers. “What kind of example is this from your Teacher, acting cozy with crooks and misfits?”
Jesus, overhearing, shot back, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick? Go figure out what this Scripture means: ‘I’m after mercy, not religion.’ I’m here to invite outsiders, not coddle insiders.” Mat. 9:10-13 (MSG)
Why venture outside of your comfort zone, and talk with those who choose to live a different lifestyle than you?
Because they need to know, see, and hear the love of Jesus as much as anyone else, perhaps more!
They need to feel what is authentic and that might help them reject, cast off, Satan’s cheap substitutes or imitations of what is real.
So what was it that I “didn’t” say to the self-proclaimed Pagan? After hearing what she was, I didn’t say, “Oh, I’ll be praying for you.” She explained hearing those words infuriates her, and she refuses to listen to anything else a person who says that has to say. She said it immediately makes her feel as if her choice is wrong.
Say a prayer before engaging one that you know is living a life less than what God intended. Ask the Holy Spirit to guide your tongue, as you dare, or take a risk to speak words of life to them. Your initial words may be the only ones they hear, but hopefully they’ll stick around to hear more, and perhaps even dine with you.
Copyright © 2021 Mark Brady. All rights reserved.