I had dinner with a few friends a couple of days ago. The conversation moved from American politics, to alternative history then eventually, religion.
It makes me cringe that friends think I am a ‘religious’ person. I am not. In fact, I believe religion is the very reason that disconnects people from one another.
In that same dinner party, I was harmlessly put on the spot by our host.
After careful thought, he asked everyone “If Jesus Christ suddenly popped in this room, what would you say to him?”
I was taken aback. I have never been asked that question by my friends from Church, let alone in the midst of those who don’t know Jesus Christ that well.
He asked each and everyone of his guests. Most were statements and questions like “Why are you homophobic, God?”, or “If your God, why do you allow suffering?” or “I don’t understand the concept of celibacy of priests and nuns. Can you explain that, Jesus?”
Then eventually he turned his attention to me. I couldn’t speak. I was literally sinking in my seat.
“Paula, maybe you’de like to share your thoughts?”
I told him almost embarassingly, “Not me. Please don’t put me on the spot”.
“But have you thought about it? Do you have a question to ask Jesus?”
“Yes, I do. But it’s not a question.”
“But you don’t want to share it?”
Beaten, “No, not right now. I can’t. I’m sorry.”
When I got home that night, it took all my strength not to cry.
I felt like a failure. That was the best opportunity to share Him. To let Him be known. But I was too embarrassed and scared of what they would say and think of me and my “beliefs”.
Not being able to courageously talk about Him has the same weight as to deny Him.
“Then they seized him and led him away, bringing him into the high priest’s house, and Peter was following at a distance. And when they had kindled a fire in the middle of the courtyard and sat down together, Peter sat down among them. Then a servant girl, seeing him as he sat in the light and looking closely at him, said, “This man also was with him.” But he denied it, saying, “Woman, I do not know him.” And a little later someone else saw him and said, “You also are one of them.” But Peter said, “Man, I am not.” And after an interval of about an hour still another insisted, saying, “Certainly this man also was with him, for he too is a Galilean.” But Peter said, “Man, I do not know what you are talking about.” And immediately, while he was still speaking, the rooster crowed. And the Lord turned and looked at Peter. And Peter remembered the saying of the Lord, how he had said to him,“Before the rooster crows today, you will deny me three times.”And he went out and wept bitterly. “- Luke 22:54-62
I only get the chance to share Him with people who I know I will get approval from or who can“understand”. In other words, I have resorted to preaching to the choir solely because of the fact that during the course of my Christian life, I have met individuals who actually make fun of, scorn, insult and mock His name.
I am so tired of having to meet insult after insult from such individuals and trying to answer their list of questions that, I have to admit, I am not equipped to answer. It can get draining sometimes. It is so hard to share Him in a world that laughs and jeers at His very name.
There are times that I just want to throw in the towel. It makes me question, maybe I am not equipped for this or I don’t have what it takes to really go out there and be the woman He designed me to be.
Then He shakes me up. He brings a particular person in my life who needs Him. He presents me special circumstances that say, “Don’t give up now. You are doing a good job, my child”.
And then I am me again. I can’t give up. Not now. Not after all the things He has done in my life and the lives of others. And though I fail Him so many times, I am hopeful in His love and promise: “Be strong and courageous, do not be afraid or tremble at them, for the LORD your God is the one who goes with you. He will not fail you or forsake you.” – Deuteronomy 31:6
Back to the dinner party, our host asked a very profound question. If Jesus did indeed show up that night, I would have told Him this:
“My Lord, please don’t forget about me”.
“One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” – Luke 23:39-43