But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.
- Matthew 10:33
Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels.
- 2 Timothy 2:23
I was thinking about awkward phone calls recently. I decided to write a fictional funny story, and then flip it.
I had a friend at work, back when I was employed fulltime.
Okay, to some people who know me and used to work with me, that statement is not just funny, but hilarious. They are thinking right now, “He THOUGHT he had a friend at work!” So, first revision:
I had an acquaintance at work. On a couple of occasions, he brought up the subject of the belief in God. He started the “friendly conversation” with “How can anyone with half a brain, and a ten of the intelligence that you seem to have, believe in God?” Okay, I probably should have copied the Scripture from the Sermon on the Mount about letting him whack my other cheek with a steel gauntlet about this point, but I defended my belief. He laughed. On another “friendly conversation,” I mentioned intelligent design. He immediately interrupted to tell me that intelligent design was off limits, probably because he had no answer to it in his agnostic set of ideas.
This established our “relationship.” I would start a bit of small talk and he would declare it off limits. We could not talk about God, religion, philosophy, science that was beyond the work that we had in common, colleges, and nursery rhymes. The nursery rhyme thing still puzzles me. The most common easy topic is weather, but he took courses on the topic in college and he got angry when he thought of how the idiot weather people on TV make more money than he does and he actually knows something about the weather. So, bringing up the weather got him agitated.
I thought sports would be safe. But, he hated all sports, and he thought that anyone who liked sports was a Neanderthal. But he did like tiddlywinks. One time I asked if his favorite team had been winking their tiddlies properly. He said to me, “How dare you ask me now! It’s the off season!” I did not even know that they had a season!!
But now he calls on the telephone. He wants me to initiate the conversation topic, but I have run out of topics. I have no idea why he calls. For two minutes or so, I say “Hello” and then there is this heavy breathing on the other end of the line. About the only thing that I can think of saying is “Nice breathing.” He does not like reading, so if I talk about a book that I read recently, he’ll say “Change the subject.” And he insists that he has never prohibited any topic from being discussed. Wait!! You cut me off in mid-sentence to tell me that I am not allowed to continue talking on a topic, but you never prevent me from talking on any topic?!?! As Ken Davis often says in his routines and I agree with him, what really bothers me is when something just does not make sense.
We have nothing in common other than we once worked together. So, I have gotten into the routine of saying, “Hello, we’re fine. (pause) That’s nice! Oh, gotta go! Bye.” My wife said that cutting him off like that was not a good way of showing God’s love. But THAT is not the worst of it. The last time he called, (I try not to listen to what he says during the pause), but I think he said, “I killed somebody…”
So, my wife is berating me on my evangelism techniques and how I cannot bring someone to a saving knowledge of Jesus by hanging up on them… And I’m running through what I heard in slow motion, “I-i-i-I Kill-ll-ll-ed Som-m-me-bo-o-o-de-e-e-e.” Yep, that’s what he said!!! I suddenly interrupt my wife in the middle of her theological lecture, and I tell her, “If he calls back asking if we know any good lawyers, hang up on him!! And then never answer the phone again.” After thinking for a moment about what she was just lecturing me on, I add, “On second thought, pack your stuff. We’re moving, without forwarding address. Drop your cellphone in the trash. We can call the kids when we have changed our names and bought new cellphones.”
Okay, this was a fictional story, most of it, meant to be funny, but is it?
We live in a culture that cancels people who do not like the way someone else thinks, acts, or even looks cross-eyed. They even say that if we “love” we have to “love” by their rules. We live in a culture where the far left says that they are “offended” and the middle and right must do a thousand mea culpas to keep from getting cancelled, if that was even possible.
And to avoid “offending” my friend, I hear him say “I killed somebody” and my response is “That’s nice” and I hang up – fictitiously, but the world is indeed mad, mad, mad, mad.
Satan has entered the hearts of a lot of “good” people all because the majority of nine justices decided that the common sense in our constitutional amendment about free speech and freedom to worship without a state-run religion was ridiculous. Let’s just shut the mouths of all these Christians so that we do not get “offended,” but many of these other religions are “cultural” and that’s allowed.
Yet, Madalyn Murray O’Hair was not Satan. The justices who sided with her were not Satan. Yet, many people have suffered since that poor interpretation of what Thomas Jefferson wanted in the Bill of Rights. And now, we are silenced because someone says that our discussion of any topic, not just Christianity, but any topic ‘offends’ them. And then, they cannot conceive that they have been the ones creating the rules and the list of disallowed topics.
So, do we “offend” them with our love for them? Or do we sit on the sidelines as they grumpily go to Hell? Being sped toward Hell by their own insistence on not being offended.
And I mentioned “grumpily.” Deep inside them, they hear a voice saying that their life is a train wreck. They go to therapy. They take medications. They are numb. They would do anything to prevent the voice from speaking louder. Their lives are indeed a train wreck. and they know it. But they would rather suffer in their brokenness than to be offended by someone who loves them and tries to get their train to turn around and avoid the wreck entirely.
As my niece said in a social media post a few months ago, she would entertain intelligent conversation, but if it was rude, foolish or stupid, the comment would be deleted.
How can we live by both Scriptures above in this present age? The agnostics and atheists and even non-believing “Christians” want to enter into foolish and stupid arguments, but not defending your faith is a form of disowning God.
In some cases, I wish it were not a spiritual minefield, but a real one. You say that you love them, stomp your feet, and the next thing you know, Jesus has you in His arms.
Does anyone have any suggestions?
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.