Friday, October 16, 2009

Lying and Evangelism

Before I "asked bodybuilding into my heart" I used to be a runner. I did a lot of 5K and 10K races, and even ran the Los Angeles Marathon one year. To get ready for the races, of course, I had to train a lot. This meant running on local streets.

In those old days, despite having no gift for running, I used to push myself pretty hard, certainly to the point of discomfort, on every run. But I developed a habit of smiling as cars or pedestrians passed me. My idea, which seems crazy to me now, was that I didn't want to be a "bad witness" for running. I didn't want pain on my face to dissuade anyone from taking up this healthy activity.

I believe that we Christians often do the same thing in our lives. When in the presence of unbelievers, for whose conversion to The Faith we pray, we often mask our pain, our disappointments. We want our unsaved friends to know that if they follow Jesus, they will be well taken care of, free of trouble and concern. Sometimes, though, this amounts to lying. Just like I lied with my face when I was running.

I now believe that more good would be done were we to be always authentic with our friends, believers and unbelievers alike. The fact that God's will for us may be to be in difficulties and pain does not refute His lordship. If we lie to make converts, and we succeed, what will our friends think of us or of God when they face difficulties as new Christians ... difficulties we pretended not to face?

My sense of this is that you cannot advance God's kingdom by deception.