Forcing Faith [blog/reflection]

Forcing Faith [blog/reflection]

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I always find it fascinating the way in which people share their faith.  Some casually talk about it, some not at all.  Others wear it on their sleeve and some slap you in the face with it.  There are a ton of ways to do it and I make every effort to be respectful of them all.  I have been intrigued and offended by some of the ways in which people, make that Christians, share there faith with others.

I remember one time shopping in Walmart to only have this older woman walk up to me and hand me a Bible tract – one of those little booklets that talk about how to be “saved.”  She didn’t say hello, didn’t introduce herself, didn’t ask me my name or anything.  She handed it to me and walked away.  I was shocked and offended by her supposedly nice gesture.  How is that considered sharing her faith with me?  Guess what?  I was already a Christian.  She would have known that if she asked.

To take my fascination a step further, I used to volunteer at an organization that served females in a pregnancy crisis.  They were lovely people.  I remember getting the feeling one day, that many were persuading these females out of an abortion to “save” the baby.  They of course shared the Christian faith with the women to make sure they were saved…I did it once too.  But is that the way I wanted to share my faith?  Making sure someone was “saved”…but never seeing them again.  Never building a relationship.  Never making a connection.

I don’t want someone coming to my door trying to get me to believe like them.  I don’t want someone handing me a Bible tract without saying a word to me.  And I don’t want someone trying to get me “saved” and persuading me to do something they believe is right without being there in the long run to journey with me or have a way for me to get resources.  I don’t want someone forcing their faith on me.  I feel odd about doing it to someone else back then. And don’t get me started on scare tactics, such as “do you know where you’re going when you die?”…

I believe when Jesus shared his faith and told the disciples to make disciples, underneath it was relationships and connections.  The Christian faith is a communal faith.  One built on love.  Of course it’s not easy but that’s what we work toward.  If we’re going to share our faith, then we need to be loving.  Not just have a loving intention but actually show love to the person we’re sharing with.  So if they don’t agree or have a different perspective, then that should be respected and we shouldn’t be ready to put them in hell or anywhere else.  Additionally, sharing faith is also about sharing of one’s self – for both parties.  It’s not telling someone what they need, it’s proposing a choice.  It’s up to them to decide, and whatever decision they make is between them and God. It’s Jesus that does the saving, not women and men.

I guess my point is this: there’s nothing wrong with people sharing their faith.  How one goes about it is important. And honestly, who wants to be forced to believe something?