This was in Reddit’s Atheist section, but I think this is truthful (not supporting atheism though — this is kind of like how it is better to either be or not be, vs being “luke warm” or “in the middle” which God is most unhappy with): http://i.imgur.com/zWmay.jpg
What I get out of this is that the narration is correct. A person needs to realize that from their point of view, they do not understand WHY Jesus matters in their life. It has to do with perspective. If a person has never known Jesus, Jesus to them is no more or less significant than some other random stranger in the world.
To them, they do not understand the concept of sin (and by this I really mean that they do not understand why anything they do would be a sin). The lust, the greed, the selfishness — this is all normal from their perspective. It’s like when a person sees a pretty person and they are confronted with a couple options: (1) engage/indulge/lust, or (2) run away/hide/look away. The third option would actually be: (3) do neither #1 or #2, but pray that God would untwist the falseness/they way your ‘perspective’ has been corrupted to be transformed back to the original, sin-free, righteous and holy perspective from before Adam ate from the apple from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil (because after God created everything, He called it GOOD). So, just like this, they are entirely unfamiliar with this side of the coin in life — not even knowing it exists.
But you also have to understand that you can’t just dash straight to the punch. The only way people can reach out to people is by being people. Everyone has a life story, and many people have very unique lives. If you speak to an audience of students on their way to a Masters degree in Biology about things meant to be preached to Computer Science students working toward their Masters degree — it’s going to be 100% irrelevant, meaningless, and wasted time for the Biology students. The only way you can reach out to those students is by speaking something that is relevant to their lives. It is one of the simplest fundamental elements of human communication — common sense it should be. If you can’t relate to a person, there will be a lot of friction (unless you are intelligent enough to know how to bypass that obstacle, but not many people have the skills to do this) and that won’t be a big influencer for the person you’re trying to reach out to.
If you can sit down with a person and establish an eye-to-eye level of closeness and relationship, you have a bigger POTENTIAL of influencing them to the way of coming to Christ. BUT HOLD ON – don’t get ahead of yourself. Don’t make it solely about reaching out to them to make them become Christians, because *YOU* *CANNOT* *MAKE* *ANYONE* *A* *CHRISTIAN*. Only the Holy Spirit can change, transform, and work in people’s lives to bring them to UNDERSTANDING of truths that are hidden to the average sinner who has never known anything about this “God” or “Jesus” or why anything in their life is a sin (which often times comes across as hate/prejudice in first impression and several impressions to follow — a lot of times unfortunately due to luke warm Christians, counterfeit Christians, and other religions that are not Christian claiming to be Christian such as Mormonism for example).
I believe the best way to let the Holy Spirit work in a FRIEND’S life (that FRIEND being the random stranger, atheist possibly, who doesn’t know/understand why anything they do is a “sin” or anything of importance) is simply this: (1) love God with all your heart, mind, and soul, and (2) love your neighbors as thyself (a.k.a. how do YOU want people to treat you? *answer this question privately to yourself* then treat people the way you want them to treat you).
- The two commandments Jesus gave (as stated above)
- Have a PRIVATE and CO-OPERATIVE prayer life
- Every day, write down three things you are thankful for — make it a challenge and try to avoid writing down the same thing again; make it unique
- Think about things before you speak; don’t be so quick to make responses or contributions to discussions
- It is perfectly OKAY to say “I don’t know” even if something comes to your mind but you don’t know how to say it verbally or write it the way you know it needs to be written
Without humility, you cannot love and be selfless. If there is any pride or ego, your “love” and “selflessness” will hang upon that, and there you will ultimately find the true motives behind your actions. Jesus didn’t have any pride or ego in his life; look at the pharisees and religious leaders whose hearts were too full of pride and ego to see past their deeply corrupted perspective of reality.
Here is something else to think about: everyone, no matter who you are as long as you fit the criteria of being a human being, is seeking for happiness. This is a fact. People look for something to make them happy. People will try to find it through drugs, sex, money, sports, career/business, politics, etcetera. All these are like an addiction though. A person will get used to things, and then they will need “that much more” of an input to receive an elevating amount of output — and there is a limit to this. There is a point you can reach where no more amount of input will increase the amount of output; it will no longer bring you any more pleasure or happiness. This is materialistic and finite.
Humans [individually] also want to be loved, to feel loved, to know that someone cares about them. I want to be loved, to feel loved, to know that someone truly cares for me from the bottom of the heart. Life in all its entirety comes down to RELATIONSHIP. But even human relationships have a limit — it can go a long way, yes, but there will be a point where you crave for something even deeper than the depths of your mortal human relationship.
So that FRIEND who has an atheistic and secular background — treat him with the love and selflessness of Jesus, and be human. You are in the same boat as he, and nothing you do can ever bring someone to understanding or to Christ; only the Holy Spirit can do this, but to do this you need to make room for the Holy Spirit IN YOU to be able to work through you. We often set conditions before God as a reason to serve Him, and/or often have selfish bits of US impeding the Holy Spirit from working through US.
LOVE is the most powerful thing. You can be the strongest atheist or the most brutal, fearful grunt. LOVE will bring even the strongest person down to their knees in tears. God’s LOVE is different in that it is supernatural. This is the kind of love that a person simply can’t give to another. This is the kind of love that can RADIATE and EMANATE off the faces of a small group of people walking together in such a way that is unreal and unnatural and will OVERTAKE people’s focus to see this and suddenly be desperately curious and wanting to know about this small group of person’s lives. This is the kind of love that has the power to change a Muslim, a mercenary or slave master in Africa, or Tom Tarrants who was a member of the KKK and at the top of the FBI’s list, or Nicky Cruz from Puerto Rico and New York, …
If you are always in church and never step foot in dirty places, you will always be isolate from the very people you are trying to reach out to. If you don’t have a strong core and foundation for why you serve God, you need to fix this and establish a relationship with Christ. Only YOU have the power over YOU to seek God with all YOUR heart, mind, and soul. This is a spiritual war, and only through prayer and relationship through Lord Jesus Christ with God can people and events be changed.
That’s all I’ve got to say.