Helping People Along Their Journey
Several years ago Dr. Paul Vitz spoke at a Veritas Forum lecture to a large crowd at the University of Florida. Dr. Vitz, a professor of psychology at New York University, spoke on the subject, "The Psychology of Atheism."
One of the themes of his talk was that some people accept the worldview of atheism because they have had very negative experiences with their own fathers. The atheist may then transfer this dislike for his father to a dislike for the concept of a heavenly Father.
During the Question and Answer session after his talk, one self-avowed atheist stood and asked this question - "Let's assume I accept your proposal that my disdain for the concept of God can be traced back to my hatred for my abusive father. If that is true, what would you suggest as my next step to accepting the idea of a heavenly father?"
The entire crowd was hushed as Dr. Vitz pondered a good 15 seconds on his answer. He finally responded, "I would suggest a good first step would be for you to be a good father to your children." The man gratefully received this answer and sat down.
At the end of the Q & A time several people came to me very upset about the lost opportunity to share Christ with this individual. A number of people said, "He had an open invitation to share the entire gospel with him. I can't believe he didn't take advantage of that!" But was this the best time (in front of over 1,000 people) to share the gospel with him?
In his book Finding Common Ground, Tim Downs states, "sometimes not telling someone everything you know about Jesus and the Bible is an act of faith, love, and courage." Sometimes we need to bring people along the way on their journey to faith. Most people must travel the road from unbelief to skepticism to doubt and then to faith over a period of time. This is the time we need to sow into their lives so that the harvest may come.
Scripture: Matthew 13: 3-8 -- "Behold, the sower went out to sow; and as he sowed, some seeds fell beside the road ... others fell upon the rocky places ... and others fell among the thorns ... and others fell on the good soil."
Action Point: What is the condition of the soil around you? Are people eager to respond? Is there still some sowing you can do in their lives? Check out the first chapter of Finding Common Ground at http://www.sowing.net.
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