Her eyes dropped sheepishly to the table. After a few drinks, she loosened up a little and started talking about things I’d never heard her mention in the seven years we’d known each other.
“So… what do you believe?” She asked, her words quiet. Timid.
“What do you mean?” I didn’t know what else to say.
“Well… you know… with all of this stuff. All of the God, Jesus, heaven stuff he was just slamming,” she continued awkwardly, referring to the negative comments we’d both just heard Bill Maher rant on about for the past half hour.
Nothing. My brain went blank like a freshly swiped dry erase board!
She was digging. Opening herself up to me. Reaching out. And I had nothing.
“I know you’re a Christian,” she continued through the silence, “and you go to church all the time. …But you don’t talk about it a lot—which I appreciate.” She cleared her throat. “I grew up Catholic, but my parents never really cared too much, and we only went to mass for Christmas. Sometimes Easter. Since you go, I was just wondering how you feel about it all.”
Anything. ANYTHING is better than nothing!
I spilled the first words that filled my mind.
“I accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior ten years ago, and I’ve never looked back.” The words squeezed out fast. Strained. “Because of him I’m saved from my sins, and know I’ll one day be with my family in heaven, free from Satan and all of the evil of this world.”
What… the HELL…was THAT?
Everything I’d just said sounded like rote lines from a bad interview on TBN!
I looked desperately into her eyes. She didn’t say a word. The soft lines of her face straightened. She shifted in her seat. “Ok,” she muttered quickly, seeming embarrassed to have mentioned a word.
We both turned our faces tensely back to the television, and I flipped the channel to move our minds someplace else.
The Ten Commandments of Christian Confession
Thou Shouldst Not Resort to Using Christian Mottoes and Taglines When Sharing Thy Faith
These questions so often catch us off guard. We don’t expect people to bring up God, or Jesus, or thoughts about life-after-death, or questions about the nature of eternity while sitting on the living room couch. But it happens. And when we’re caught off guard, we’re left to answer spontaneously with some of the deepest thoughts and feelings we hold in our souls. We become overwhelmed by this feeling that we need to say things just right—to proselytize. To avoid looking like a fool. So too often we flash to the easiest phrases—the most popularly accepted words—to save us from the awkward task of having to think about our beliefs and express what’s truly in our hearts, on our own.
But in doing this, we appear thoughtless. Duped. Shammed into mindless following. And the moment someone perceives this about our faith, all hope of opening ourselves and others to the very real feelings and thoughts we have inside, is lost. People shut down. Tune you out. Why? Because they’ve heard it a million times before.
When asked about your faith, take time to give your own answers. If you don’t have them yet, let yourself acknowledge this in your mind, and with the person in front of you. This will create a true dialogue—someplace now safe in the fact that you’ve each shared your vulnerabilities openly with the other—and in that space you make a path toward understanding and identification for the both of you.
Be good with each other. Enjoy each other. Don’t let yourself be afraid to speak about God from your soul… even if it doesn’t sound as fancy as the Apostle’s Creed. I promise it will sound better. Truer. Real. Because it’s from your heart.
In all of your talks I pray for you to feel the courage and strength of God fill you, and that you feel safe to open your soul and share God’s love with others as simply and naturally as it’s been given.