I wish I could convince the world that God exists. I wish I could convince my readers. I wish I could convince my friends. I’m not a fighter. It’s not in me to argue. It’s not even in me to talk about God very much when a stranger brings it up in small talk. I avoid topics that might bring us there. I have to be very comfortable with you to be able to talk about God. Truthfully, this is, in part, because I don’t want to be judged. However, it is more and more so because I don’t want people to be annoyed or scared and avoid the topic or even avoid me completely. There’s a principle in writing that dictates you should try to show, not tell, when trying to illustrate or explain an event, situation, inner thoughts, etc. I think I translate that principle into everyday life. Maybe it’s not helpful for people to hear that God exists or that he loves them because they’ve heard it a thousand times and still don’t believe it for whatever reason. I just want to show you.
I’ve been given a plethora of resources that could help me argue the case. I can’t bring myself to read any of it because I already know God exists. I already know he loves me. There have been rare occasions on which I’ve had to argue the case because someone threw the first stone. If I had read more, I probably could have put up a better fight, but like I said, I’m not a fighter. Jesus wasn’t a fighter either. He let people know when they were doing something very wrong, but he never started a fight. He’s braver than I am. My philosophy has always been “live and let live.” Lately I’ve started using a new strategy. I’ve been more vocal and opinionated about things that influence, or are influenced by my faith, but I do not, and will not argue the case for God’s existence unless someone intentionally starts an argument with me or asks me about it.
Furthermore, the “show don’t tell” principle makes more sense to me when I consider the fact that Christians are supposed to be the body of Christ. Truthfully, I think that includes his voice. It’s hard to know exactly what he would say to specific people in specific situations, but a good place to start is to ask, “Is this a loving thing to say?” The fact of the matter is, I’m a pacifist, simply by nature. I’ll admit that sometimes even love hurts. I personally just can’t go there, but if it’s necessary to go there, one should remember that it is only loving if it truly helps the other person. I don’t go there because it is very difficult to know whether a loving but still hurtful thing will actually help.
Many Christians make the mistake of thinking too much about the afterlife. We can’t truly know what comes next. There are so many interpretations of the same idea that it’s almost impossible. We do know, however, that we were made for this world; this life. Otherwise we wouldn’t be here. I want my peeps to know God in and for this life. I became a much happier and much more peaceful person after becoming Christian. I’m not sure how well they understand that or see it. It happened gradually, and even I didn’t see it for a long time. I had a tough time in public school, and it took me several years to be able to forgive people. It took me a while to wrap my head around the idea of loving my “enemies.”
It’s in human nature to get angry and to hate, and I fall prey to it sometimes. I find myself hating “the haters” in this world, despite my best efforts not to. Really, though, it’s not productive. It just creates walls that are very difficult to break down. Jesus showed us what it is and what it takes to forgive. Forgiving the ones who hurt us allows them to see who God is and what he does. Forgiving does not mean allowing bad situations to persist. It means moving on. It means starting over. Sometimes that means breaking ties, and sometimes that means making bonds stronger. Forgiving and moving on allows people to become better. It fosters greater empathy and strengthens the love they already have for others.
Furthermore, knowing God’s love and forgiveness allows us to love and forgive ourselves as well as others. For some that is difficult. God loves us no matter what. Despite everything we do, say, think, or feel, if we try to follow God’s requirements for spiritual, moral life, he will always forgive us. We are finite, so we cannot always wrap our minds around absolutes. God will always forgive us. He loves us no matter what. Can we do that when it comes to our relationships with others? God is love, and for him, it’s probably automatic. For us, it often takes effort–sometimes a lot, but it is a necessity for a real, successful, strong friendship or any other relationship. It’s a scary notion considering that we cannot know the future, but if we did not adhere to it, we would be forever alone.
I’m a writer, but it’s hard to say in words what actions can show. I can’t just tell you that God loves you, and without explaining some things, I can’t simply show you. It’s hard to find that balance. To this day I’ve never convinced anyone, at least to my knowledge, but I also don’t think God created anyone simply to convince people of his existence. The fact of the matter is, you have to be willing to believe before you will find any evidence that he exists, at least from my experience. God creates people with a purpose in mind. Sometimes that purpose is specific and vague at the same time. I think he created me to write, but it isn’t always clear what he wants me to write and why he wants me to write it.
I’ve heard stories about friends of friends, etc, who knew exactly what they were going to do from the day they were born. I get the sense this is not common. We don’t have to know what the heck we’re doing to serve God. We just have to do whatever we do with a purpose. We have to write intentionally. We have to love intentionally. We have to create intentionally. God just wants us to make his world better. Maybe that just means writing interesting stories for the world’s enjoyment. Maybe it means doing missionary work. Maybe it means running a business and being super nice to customers. As I said, it’s not always easy to tell.
I started this post by saying that I’m not a fighter. There are militant atheists out there who feel it is their duty to convince the world that believing in God is simply willful ignorance. There are people out there from various religions who would kill me for what I believe. I try not to fight at all costs, but I do believe it’s my duty to defend those who can’t defend themselves. I defend my friends, and that includes Jesus. I don’t need to defend his existence or the fact that he is God, but I will always defend his honor. The same goes for any of my friends. We defend each other. It’s what friends do. That being said, I will end that fight as quickly as I can, even if it means letting the other person think they’ve won. In fact, I think that’s a good policy in general. If an argument cannot otherwise end peacefully, end it quickly, and let the “enemy” think they’ve won. Your own pride should never be a factor in an important argument.
Hatred and war are self-perpetuating. Love negates both. If you forgive a person you’ve been fighting with, the fight cannot continue. If you let go of hate, it will eventually die. The world can be made perfect, maybe even in our lifetime. Only love will make that happen. I can’t convince anyone that God exists. That’s been made clear. I can love people, including those who dislike me or disagree with me, because he’s shown me how. I’m not asking anyone to believe tonight. I’m not even asking anyone to consider the facts because I haven’t provided any. All I’m asking is that people would try love. Love no matter what. Forgive everything. Make it your default. If you do the world, or at least your little part of it, will be a better place. I can promise you that.
Because in my world guinea pigs can fly!