Striking out sucks. I mean no one likes swinging and missing, its embarrassing, frustrating, and you have to ponder your failure till you next at bat. I guess the worst, kind of strikeout is when you fail to realize that you were even up at bat, ignorant of the fact that you just struck out, only reminded by the ump’s shout “You’re out”.
It all went down on a lazy afternoon, I was sitting around with two guys both acquaintances. They were cracking a joke about another female acquaintance that I know. This joke was one of those double meaning jokes, not as light hearted as the twss (That’s what she said) joke but a little raunchier more like a that’s what she did joke. So while the other guys are laughing, I’m busy processing my response, did she really do that? should I speak up? should I give a sort of fake chuckle?, should I smile and shake my head?, should I tell them they need to repent because Jesus is coming and they’re going to hell? should I lay my hands on them and baptize them with my Aquifina water bottle Presbyterian style; you know just a sprinkle. Should I not even care because guys will be guys and at least to my knowledge, both of the guys are not Christian, though I could be wrong. In less than a second I’m processing all these thoughts, and my response in the end; I just shook my head.
As I drove home later that day, I started to reflect on my response. Was it the right response? Could I have said something to convict them, or to point them to Christ? After all that is my christian duty. Was it my place to say something to them, after all I barely know these guys and its likely that I won’t be seeing them again. The answer would have been more clear if they were christians, in that case I should have definitely said something.
So you see, its like I was pitched a ball and I sorta check swung. Part of me feels I struck out, while the other side was still trying to analyze what kind of pitch that was, and the appropriate swing.
What amazes me is how we want the perfect scenarios or set ups to communicate our faith. Often times they come in these ad hoc moments, out of the blue, which is why Paul says we should be instant in season and out season, or always ready. (2 Tim 4:2)
I know there are many possible angles to approach the earlier scenario, and that our response is in a large part based on our personalities. I think the biggest issues that arise are these: Am I willing to ruffle a few feathers to communicate God’s truth? Is my ruffling of the feathers a result of what I am saying or how, why and when I say it? We can be hesitant in many instances when sharing aspects of our faith because we feel that they may offend the listener. Think about it. What comes to mind when you hear the word repent? For many , it is the image of some nut job,lunatic preacher shouting at people. It is an uncomfortable word, but at the same time a very biblical word, critical in the presentation of the gospel. This is however for another post. You see we like to hide some of the uncomfortable elements of our faith the more arduous, and weighty commands and prefer to use the more comfortable all purpose statements like “God loves you”. Then on the flip side, we can go to the other extreme of calling down fire and brimstone at everything that moves; from the drunk coming from the liquor store, the prostitute on the corner, those Bebe’s kids down the street, and even the roaches in the cabinet. Sometimes it’s not even what we’re saying but the timing of what we say. I mean you’re not going to knock on people’s doors at 4:00am to tell people ” Rise and shine Jesus rose again”; you wait till 8:00am and come with your partner. I kid I kid, sort of. Peter tells us in 1 Peter 3:15
Be ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are, and always with the utmost courtesy.
I guess one the reason’s I sort of felt like I struck out was that in the situation above, I wanted to hit a home run, but didn’t know how. I wanted to tell them, that the female acquaintance was valuable in God’s eyes no matter if and what she did. That God loves her, and would not appreciate anyone talking about his daughter like that. I wanted to say how would you feel if that were your sister, would you talk like that joke around like that. I wanted to ask the guys if they knew God, and ever thought would he thought about them. I wanted to share the judgement of God and the grace and mercy in Christ.
Except I couldn’t think of these things, and it wasn’t necessarily the time and place to do it. Sometimes the best we can do is “plant seeds”, however lame they may be, and pray.
Father, I pray that I may be your light and salt in this world. I pray that everyone I come in contact will know you, and sense you through my walk and my talk. Give me a passion for your name and a wisdom and power to communicate your word with boldness and accuracy.