How shall we bridge the gap between believers and non-believers in the New Year? How shall we bridge this gap in any year. Year? Perhaps the word “year” gives the believer too much time. As believers we should question rather how we will bridge the gap this month, week or day? Yes, why wait? How shall we bridge the gap between the believer and non-believer today?
What causes believers to wobble on the edge of this chasm? Why do we not build bridges with our fellow brothers and sisters? Are bridges even necessary? Is the chasm really so wide we can’t simply cross the divide with a step or a hop? We tremble with the thought of reaching out to a stranger or friend, fearful our word, even when kind, will be met with scorn or in the least, displeasure. And yet is this fear unwarranted? If as believers we truly believe anyone’s life is truly at stake, why do we waiver? Do we not truly believe? Do we feel there is always more time? Do we leave salvation in the hands of another we feel is more competent to deliver the message?
Penn Jillette, one half of the illusionist team, Penn and Teller, is an outspoken atheist. However after he was presented with a Bible by an audience member after a performance, he had this to say, “I’ve always said I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize. I don’t respect that at all. How much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate someone to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?”
The gap perhaps is not as wide or deep as we convince ourselves. Many non-believers may not want to raise their hand waiting instead to be called upon. And that is fine if we are up to the challenge. As teachers of the word here are a few ways to bridge the gap.
Show them Jesus – Do you remember the King in Braveheart commenting that the problem with Scotland is that it is full of Scots? The same can sometimes be said for Christianity and Christians. The problem with Christianity is that it is full of Christians not practicing what they preach. Win non-believers by showing them Jesus not just by telling them but when you do tell them, do so with gentleness and respect.
Always have an answer – 1 Peter 3:15 instructs us to always have an answer for the hope that you have. If a non-believer approaches you with a tough question about the Bible especially if they are sincere with their curiosity, you need to provide evidence, not a feeling. Validating God’s existence based on a dream, your family’s prior relationship with God, or wishful hope, exposes you to skepticism or worse, ridicule. Atheist Christopher Hitches once wrote, “That which can be asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence.” As believers can we afford to be dismissed? Study Christian Apologetics. It will equip you with evidence to prove that your faith is not blind.
Share your testimony – How has prayer, attending Church, your fellowship with other Christians and your belief in God helped you? Has an ailment vanished? Have you escaped the clutches of an addiction? Has hope sprung anew in your bad marriage? Do you finally see a light in the darkness of abuse that has smothered you your whole life? Your testimony can open ears. Your story instills hope. Your victory wins hearts! Sit down with a friend or loved one and tell them about the effect Christ has had in your life.
Nothing above guarantees salvation and certainly you will not always receive a warm welcome, but if you can give hope to one person, they might take that first step towards Jesus!