A few weeks ago, I was outside doing yard work. Seemingly out of nowhere, two ladies appeared in front of my garage. One of them quickly said, “We were going to knock on your door, but here you are. Do you have a few minutes?” I was a bit annoyed and replied, “As you can see, I am very busy so please don’t bother me. I am very busy.” The other lady persisted, “If you find time after your work, please read this.” I saw the magazine cover and the featured article was titled The End of the World is Near. Now even more irritated, I told them, “Please leave me alone. I don’t believe in your propaganda. Please take it next door.” So they quietly left.
My son and my daughter-in-law were there and heard everything that I had said to my uninvited visitors. I asked them, “I was very rude, eh? They did not deserve that kind of treatment. I don’t think I was a good testimony and witness.” My son quickly confirmed, “Yes you were rude, Dad. We are embarrassed!”
Immediately, I went around the neighbourhood looking for the two women. I caught up with them a few blocks away. I got out of the vehicle, gently spoke with them and with a broken heart and crushed spirit, I said to them, “I apologize for my attitude. I am very sorry for being so rude to you. Please forgive me. May I have a copy of your literature? The cover page is interesting. In exchange, may I give you a gift? This is the DVD, The Life of Jesus According to the Gospel of John.” I received their magazine and they walked away with my gift.
Why do I share this with you? What is the value in all of this?
- Theologically speaking, all human beings are made in the image of God. We must treat others with kindness and respect. They are not our enemy but blinded by the enemy. The hymn writer pronounced, “Rescue the perishing, care for the dying, Jesus is merciful …”
- Engaging the representatives and “missionaries” of other faiths and belief systems must be done with respect, courtesy, and kindness. Leading them to the path of truth requires tenderness and compassion.
- Humility means asking for forgiveness — this quality is more effective than bending falsehood. People are drawn to Jesus with our actions — that is when we are not condescending and arrogant.
- Receive their literature graciously, but be prepared to give them something in return.
Dr. Bill Bright, the founder of CRU, once said, “Success in witnessing is simply taking the initiative to share Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit and leaving the results to God.” I couldn’t agree more.
Dr. Sadiri Joy Tira is a senior associate for diasporas with Lausanne and diaspora missiology specialist with the Jaffray Centre for Global Initiatives at Ambrose University in Calgary, AB. He is also on staff with PALM Ministries in Edmonton, AB.