On Sunday, I accompanied my wife on a shopping trip to the Richmond Mall. Yes, I’m sure you are jealous and envious that I had the opportunity to visit the Richmond Mall. For those of you unfamiliar with the Richmond Mall, let me just say that it probably makes your mall look awesome. I mean, people in Richmond travel to Muncie to go shopping. And, if you’ve ever been in the Muncie Mall, well, you get the picture…
As we entered the mall, a gentleman exiting the mall asked us, “Are you folks familiar with the Gospel?”
I noticed he had a pamphlet in his hand. I’m sure he was eager and prepared to walk us through the “four spiritual flaws” (yes, I know it’s called the “four spiritual laws”, I’m just being a jerk).
I gave a quick response, “Yes.” And, that was the end of the conversation.
As we entered the mall, I found myself saying, “Damn it. I should have said ‘no’, just to have an opportunity to hear what they guy had to say.” I found myself getting pissed at myself for missing the opportunity to engage the guy on some level.
You see, I’m one of those “asshole Christians” who likes to point out the flaws in this kind of evangelistic approach. I prefer evangelistic efforts that don’t require pamphlets or questions that most likely end up focused on where I’ll spend eternity. So, in some ways, I guess I’m glad I didn’t engage him because I would have ended up looking like an arrogant ass and probably belittling his heartfelt effort to share Jesus with strangers.
Later, I found myself wondering why my “yes” ended the conversation.
You see, the guy didn’t ask me “Is Jesus your personal Lord and Savior?”
He didn’t ask me, “If you were to die tonight, do you know where you’d spend eternity?”
He didn’t ask if I was a Christian or if I have a church home.
He asked if we were “familiar with the Gospel”.
When I said, “yes”, did he just assume that means I’m a Christian and he no longer needs to attempt to “save” me?
When his church supplied him with these pamphlets, did they only teach him how to engage someone unfamiliar with the Gospel?
I mean, being “familiar with the Gospel” does not imply one is a Christian. I have plenty of friends who are “familiar with the Gospel” who happen to be agnostic, atheist, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim, etc. Familiarity with the Gospel doesn’t mean that one has accepted or believes in the Gospel.
And, let’s be honest, there are many butts in the pews on Sunday who happen to be “familiar with the Gospel”, but through their actions show that they don’t “get it”.
Anyway, kudos to this guy for breaking out of his comfort zone and attempting to engage folks in a conversation about Jesus. And, shame on me for being a jerk about it!