PDA

View Full Version : Failure..



JamesV
Apr 9th 2009, 10:10 PM
I was recently talking to a good friend, about religion and stuff. She is an atheist so I thought I would talk to her a little about Christ. I didn't come on strong at all I just asked her why she didn't believe in a god. She just said "I don't believe their should be something so almighty, it just doesn't seem right."
That was a response I've never heard before.. :| So I just asked her a few more questions on why and if she was ever interested in it. She is an extremely wise and intelligent person, she is very good at helping people. She's extremely respectful and very honest! I love those qualities about her, but she doesn't appreciate them herself.
I did my best to speak the gospel to her, but she couldn't get over the fact that God would let all these bad things on earth.
I thought, since she wasn't familiar with the Bible or anything really, that reciting verses to her would be a bit silly. And would seem a bit unrealistic. So I just explained to her why God did things, and how he loved everyone.

Anyway, to the end of the conversation.. (By the way, I was praying throughout our conversation that God would give me the wisdom to say the right things.) I believe it didn't really effect her to much, because all she had to say was, "Okay, if that's what you believe, then you believe it , I fully respect it."
I felt instant failure. Like everything I had said was just annoying her. I know it is her decision, but I felt like it was my fault.

Anyone know a few tips on..

1. How to tell people who are ignorant of the Bible about Christ.
2. How to explain it to them well.
3. How to get over this kind of failure :(

Thanks for the help :)

Also, I totally didn't realize where I was posting this thread :P I had a few tabs open and I just clicked new thread. So forgive me if I put it in the wrong spot! :(

mcgyver
Apr 9th 2009, 10:26 PM
You're in the right spot. :)

The key thing to remember, is that it is God who saves, not us. ;)

We can plant a seed, and water what is planted...but it is God who gives the increase.

You've got to realize that an atheist's perspective is by definition irrational and not therefore subject to "rational argument".

What I mean is this: Atheism is a universal negative which is a logical contradiction...and to affirm a logical contradiction is irrational...therefore there isn't a thing in the world that you can say from a "human" perspective; because any argument you present will be filtered from a view that has irrationality as its very foundation.

What you can do however is to speak the word of God...let that word do God's work. It has been my experience that people forget what I said...but once they hear the scripture it gets into their head and heart and can really "nag" at them. :lol:

Your friend probably gets quite agitated when you start quoting scripture (I've had people come completely un-glued on me)...but that's a good thing...because it tells me that the Holy Spirit is doing His job of bringing conviction to a hard heart.

If that wasn't the case, they wouldn't be so bothered by it, would they? ;)

Don't feel like you're a failure...keep sharing with your friend and let those seeds get planted! :)

JamesV
Apr 9th 2009, 11:17 PM
Thanks for your posts! :)

Yah. But he uses us to get the word out :) And if we do a bad job, then.. Well, it certainly won't effect what God has planned, but it certainly leaves me feeling bad. :P

That's unfortunate. I wish atheists didn't view like that.

I didn't quote a lot of scripture. I just explained what they meant. I figured if I said anything from the Bible, it would just be ignored. Since it's not coming from 'me'. But perhaps that was a big mistake.

I just wish that I could have been more effective. Feel like I did everything wrong. But, I talk to her frequently, perhaps I'll get another chance to talk to her about it. Or, maybe, she'll have some questions!

I have a list that I pray for everyday for God to show them the way to Salvation. (Awkward sentence) I haven't noticed any changes yet, but then again, I don't keep in touch with some of them. But, God knows best. So I trust Him to work well! :)

Word of Light
Apr 10th 2009, 04:41 AM
I was recently talking to a good friend, about religion and stuff. She is an atheist so I thought I would talk to her a little about Christ. I didn't come on strong at all I just asked her why she didn't believe in a god. She just said "I don't believe their should be something so almighty, it just doesn't seem right."
That was a response I've never heard before.. :| So I just asked her a few more questions on why and if she was ever interested in it. She is an extremely wise and intelligent person, she is very good at helping people. She's extremely respectful and very honest! I love those qualities about her, but she doesn't appreciate them herself.
I did my best to speak the gospel to her, but she couldn't get over the fact that God would let all these bad things on earth.
I thought, since she wasn't familiar with the Bible or anything really, that reciting verses to her would be a bit silly. And would seem a bit unrealistic. So I just explained to her why God did things, and how he loved everyone.

Anyway, to the end of the conversation.. (By the way, I was praying throughout our conversation that God would give me the wisdom to say the right things.) I believe it didn't really effect her to much, because all she had to say was, "Okay, if that's what you believe, then you believe it , I fully respect it."
I felt instant failure. Like everything I had said was just annoying her. I know it is her decision, but I felt like it was my fault.

Anyone know a few tips on..

1. How to tell people who are ignorant of the Bible about Christ.
2. How to explain it to them well.
3. How to get over this kind of failure :(

Thanks for the help :)

Also, I totally didn't realize where I was posting this thread :P I had a few tabs open and I just clicked new thread. So forgive me if I put it in the wrong spot! :(

You had the courage to plant the seed. Good job! Now leave it to God to water it and make it grow. But in the meantime, keep praying for your friend. :)

Followtheway
Apr 11th 2009, 03:27 AM
A great quote I once heard was preach the gospel at all times and when necessary use words.

The disciples didnt go around telling all the gentiles repent or die, they showed them through their every day life.

mcgyver
Apr 11th 2009, 03:59 AM
The quote was by St. Augustine, and is a powerful reminder to "walk the talk"...that's for sure and certain!

But yet, we are also commanded to preach the gospel with words, and the theme of repentance is found through out all of the New Testament...for without repentance there can be no salvation.

In fact in the very first sermon preached after the resurrection (on the day of Pentecost) we see the following words (Acts 2:37-40)

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”
Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.”

I think therefore that there must be a balance: We are to preach the gospel with our lips, and show (live) the gospel by our actions.

Should we fail to do either, I believe we're doing only half the job. :)

After all, So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Romans 10:17)

*Hope*
Apr 11th 2009, 06:32 PM
A great quote I once heard was preach the gospel at all times and when necessary use words.

The disciples didnt go around telling all the gentiles repent or die, they showed them through their every day life.

That isn't what the Scripture teaches:

"How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?" - Romans 10:14

In the Greek, "preaching" means a vocal proclamation. Of course we need to show God's love and LIVE the gospel...but in order to fulfill God's commands we must also speak the truth.

To the OP, I would encourage you to continue to pray for your friend and engage in honest discussions. But in the meantime, pick up some great books on apologetics that will help you answer some of those basic questions. Here's a few suggestions:

"Hard Questions Real Answers" - William Lane Craig
"The Universe Next Door" - James Sire
"The Case for Christ" - Lee Strobel
"Love Your God With All Your Mind" - JP Moreland

fuzzi
Apr 11th 2009, 06:56 PM
I just wish that I could have been more effective. Feel like I did everything wrong. But, I talk to her frequently, perhaps I'll get another chance to talk to her about it. Or, maybe, she'll have some questions!

I have a list that I pray for everyday for God to show them the way to Salvation. (Awkward sentence) I haven't noticed any changes yet, but then again, I don't keep in touch with some of them. But, God knows best. So I trust Him to work well! :)
You've done what you were supposed to do, James: you witnessed and you have prayed.

Now it's up to your friend. She might come to you in a few months, and ask you questions, or she might not.

If you give her Scripture, even if you rephrased it, it will do good:

"So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." (Isaiah 55:11)

God's word, spoken out, will not be in vain.

And as a word of encouragement:

I was witnessed to by a friend for over three years before I got saved.

My witnessing friend had been witnessed to for several years by another friend before getting saved (and he was terribly rude to her, as well, when she witnessed to him).

My dad got saved at age 79, after several years of witnessing and lots of prayer!

So, don't feel discouraged, just keep doing what the Lord lays upon your heart!

:hug:

watchinginawe
Apr 11th 2009, 08:47 PM
"I don't believe their should be something so almighty, it just doesn't seem right."
That was a response I've never heard before.. :|That is an interesting response. I'm not sure what they mean by that one. Outside of Truth, we can concoct many "ways" that seem right. That is why the Truth is objective. Truth doesn't change or go away based on what "seems right" to us:

Proverbs 14:12 There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.


II Timonthy 2:11 It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him:

12 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us:

13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.


I did my best to speak the gospel to her, but she couldn't get over the fact that God would let all these bad things on earth. What we see on Earth is not a reflection of God, rather, it is a reflection of man. This should speak volumes about why mankind needs a Saviour. Defense exhibit 1: Mankind on Earth. And that is besides all of the natural disasters that befall us. But what we see on Earth is too much of man's "will" and not enough of God's will. That is why Jesus taught us to pray: Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in Earth, as it is in Heaven. Now it isn't that God's will is somehow ineffective in Earth, but rather it is just as your friend has put it: God "lets it happen". God allows man the responsibility to do His will, or not. When man does not do the will of God, then there is "undone" will of God in Earth. Does that mean God isn't in control? No, God is in control.
I felt instant failure. Like everything I had said was just annoying her. I know it is her decision, but I felt like it was my fault.I don't know why you should feel like you failed. God opened a door and you witnessed to her of your belief in God. You are a witness!

God Bless!

Followtheway
Apr 11th 2009, 09:17 PM
That isn't what the Scripture teaches:

"How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?" - Romans 10:14

In the Greek, "preaching" means a vocal proclamation. Of course we need to show God's love and LIVE the gospel...but in order to fulfill God's commands we must also speak the truth.

To the OP, I would encourage you to continue to pray for your friend and engage in honest discussions. But in the meantime, pick up some great books on apologetics that will help you answer some of those basic questions. Here's a few suggestions:

"Hard Questions Real Answers" - William Lane Craig
"The Universe Next Door" - James Sire
"The Case for Christ" - Lee Strobel
"Love Your God With All Your Mind" - JP Moreland

I used to be a street preacher, I learned from that experience that the disciple didnt go to each town and street witness, they sometimes spent years in a given area, living with the natives or renting, and they lived life with them and showed them the way through discipling not making converts, in all the stories we hear there are crowds around them naturally asking about the Lord.

tango
Apr 11th 2009, 09:46 PM
Lots of good responses in here. It's interesting that your friend doesn't believe that there should be a "higher power". I don't believe that it should hurt if I put wet fingers into a light bulb socket, but it still does.

God letting bad things happen is down to our free will. If I don't have free will then my choice to love God is not validated by my opportunity to choose to not love God. If I have free will and use it to hurt somebody, they will suffer. The only way their suffering can be prevented is my taking away my free will.

All that said, your friend now knows very well what you believe in and, if she finds herself wondering and wanting to know more, she knows she can come and talk to you. It's really not a failure, obviously it's great if you do lead someone to Christ right there and then but it doesn't always work that way. Sometimes you plant the seeds, someone else waters, and someone else again sees the harvest. Jesus himself said as much:

Joh 4:37-38 NKJV For in this the saying is true: 'One sows and another reaps.' (38) I sent you to reap that for which you have not labored; others have labored, and you have entered into their labors."

NOVA2
Apr 15th 2009, 11:05 PM
The remark your friend made was done because of spiritual rebellion, although she doesn't know it. Man is an egomaniac--he hates to have to admit that he ain't "all that and a bag of chips", as the saying goes.

You'd only have been a failure if you'd never tried to talk to her at all--if you'd chickened out.

*Hope*
Apr 16th 2009, 01:12 AM
I used to be a street preacher, I learned from that experience that the disciple didnt go to each town and street witness, they sometimes spent years in a given area, living with the natives or renting, and they lived life with them and showed them the way through discipling not making converts, in all the stories we hear there are crowds around them naturally asking about the Lord.

Was this in response to my post?

Followtheway
Apr 16th 2009, 01:35 AM
Yup........................

apothanein kerdos
Apr 16th 2009, 02:07 AM
There be no question after reading the book of Acts that the early disciples would show up to a city, state their case, then (if called) live among the people, displaying their message in their lives. In other cases, they walked into a city, stated their case, then left.

Regardless...

As for the OP, one thing you can do is pray for the person. Often times Christians aren't equipped with all the answers, so if you don't have an answer or can't formulate it in a way you think works, just let the person know that you can't. Tell them you'll go find the answer.

Secondly, always learn. Here's a little logical way to look at this:

1) God is infinite in knowledge and wisdom
2) Christianity is the wisdom and knowledge of God revealed (not comprehensively) on what we are to believe about Him and the world
3) We are finite in our knowledge and wisdom
4) Therefore, we'll never fully understand everything in Christianity

The more you learn about Christianity, and the different arguments for the existence of God, the more you realize you don't know. The more I read, the more I become aware of the fact that I know very little about the faith.

Three, read and read challenging books. Read books where sometimes you'll read the same page 20 times just to get an idea. Don't do this all the time as it can be discouraging, but challenge yourself in your reading. Read books that provide actual answers. If you need sources for apologetic works, just ask. :)

Four, continue to study Scripture. Study it as much as you can - it's the foundation of your faith.

Mathetes
Apr 16th 2009, 01:00 PM
A great quote I once heard was preach the gospel at all times and when necessary use words.

The disciples didnt go around telling all the gentiles repent or die, they showed them through their every day life.

Really? Are you sure about that--the apostles relied on their "everyday life" to communicate truth? I've never seen this approach even hinted at in the New Testament. Can you quote a passage that makes you think this? What I have seen in the NT, on the contrary, are accounts of men who made it their priority to proclaim the message of Christ. That was the first step in their evangelism, not the second or third step.

The quote you're referring to was spoken by St. Francis of Assisi. To be honest, I think he was far from the mark when he said it. What he should have said was: "Preach the gospel at all times, use actions if necessary" or even just "Preach the gospel at all times" without any qualification.

Followtheway
Apr 16th 2009, 01:46 PM
Really? Are you sure about that--the apostles relied on their "everyday life" to communicate truth? I've never seen this approach even hinted at in the New Testament. Can you quote a passage that makes you think this? What I have seen in the NT, on the contrary, are accounts of men who made it their priority to proclaim the message of Christ. That was the first step in their evangelism, not the second or third step.

The quote you're referring to was spoken by St. Francis of Assisi. To be honest, I think he was far from the mark when he said it. What he should have said was: "Preach the gospel at all times, use actions if necessary" or even just "Preach the gospel at all times" without any qualification.

Maybe you misunderstood me, the Apostles did preach the Gospel but not the way most think, they lived in some towns for years and worked. Those that wanted to hear the gospel came to them, they healed people on their path to doing other things. I would not be able to put all the passages on here because its almost all of the New testament. You must also understand the context that they were living in, they would have been Rabbi's you would know who they were and what they stood for. Name one time that Jesus preached to those not crowded around him?

Mathetes
Apr 16th 2009, 02:20 PM
Maybe you misunderstood me, the Apostles did preach the Gospel but not the way most think, they lived in some towns for years and worked. Those that wanted to hear the gospel came to them, they healed people on their path to doing other things. I would not be able to put all the passages on here because its almost all of the New testament. You must also understand the context that they were living in, they would have been Rabbi's you would know who they were and what they stood for. Name one time that Jesus preached to those not crowded around him?

Could you cite at least two or three? I'm not looking for too many. I'd just like to see some biblical basis for what you're saying because in all honesty I don't see this alleged approach in "almost all of the New Testament." What are some of the passages and how do you use them to arrive at your conclusion?

Thanks; I look forward to seeing the specific passages.

kenramse
Apr 24th 2009, 07:04 PM
The important thing, James my brother, is to know that you have NOT FAILED! On the contrary, you were MOST SUCCESSFUL in the sharing of the word that God gave you opportunity to provide. As others here have already shared, His word will not return to him void. Even though you did not quote scripture, the letter(s) that your friend received was from your heart which has been steeped in His Word. God made you one of his angels (as in a messenger) to help in the soon ultimate cultivation of this soul. I have no doubt or fear that this person will one day be able to praise our Lord and in remembrance be able to look back to the time that you spoke to her about God. The Holy Spirit placed you in the circumstances to be able to witness to this lady. He does not do anything in vain. Instead of feeling failure, since our enemy would have you feel that way, you should REJOICE that you had opportunity to guide the gospel plough into soil ready to be prepared for the planting of HIS seed. "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel"...this you have SUCCEEDED in doing!

scottinnj
Apr 25th 2009, 02:20 AM
Your friend probably gets quite agitated when you start quoting scripture (I've had people come completely un-glued on me)

Same here. I've got this kid at work in his early 20s who is basically stupid, gets his news from Comedy Central but has an opinion (usually wrong) on current events, whether he has seen a news report on it or not.
But put the Christian station on my XM (which I can, it's mine and I brought it into the office for everyone to share, but in the end, how it's used is my choice) and he goes ballistic and will either complain the whole time the station is on, or just mocks it.
I try to be patient because I want to be a good witness, plus since I like secular music as well, we all have opinions on a lot of bands both good and bad. He however doesn't critique the music for whether or not it's good or bad-he just hates all of it because it praises God. So I usually change the station back to something we all like after a while, because if I don't he'll get on my nerves so bad I feel like punching him. But I don't want to do that because that would be the opposite of being a witness-in fact, having a bad reaction to his of any kind would probably just push him farther from God. I don't want that.

livingwaters
Apr 25th 2009, 02:35 AM
Sometimes witnessing will not go as you want it to. Don't give up, though. The Great Commission is to go out and preach the Gospel!!!! Glory to God!!! I use Gospel Tracts, also. The thing that seems to work the best, is to be real, state what Jesus has done in you and for you, and state what HE did for the world. Just tell them this is your beliefs, and only Jesus can give us salvation, which leads to eternal life in Heaven.....but if rejected, eternal life in Hell is promised. Kirk Cameron, not AK's favorite topic, sorry, has put out an atheist's bible....I have not seen or read it, but I wouldn't mind looking at it to see what it says....I think it is a scriptural-based rebuttal to the atheists views on God! Just trying to help.;):hmm::)