Jesus liked to talk in parables…many times he talked to farmers and so he used examples from agriculture. He spoke in a way in which they understood. I’ve paraphrased his parable of The Sower from Matthew 13:3-8, with a young adult audience in mind.
And he told them many things in parables, saying, “A young adult went to log on to Facebook. And as he was Facebook stalking all his friends, he decided to go nuts and poke everybody on his friend list. As he was doing this, some pokes fell among his friends who didn’t really understand Facebook…these are the people like your grandma or your aunts/uncles, maybe your parents who are really only on Facebook to check up on you to make sure you’re not doing anything stupid, but because they didn’t understand Facebook and how poking worked, the poke went unnoticed and nothing ever came of it. Some pokes fell on friends who, receiving the poke thought “This is awesome” and decided to poke back. But once the going got tough and they were superpoked back the next day they quickly retreated from the poking battle. Other pokes fell among friends that somehow made the list of friends, but really were no friends at all. So there was no poking battle whatsoever. Some pokes, however, fell among her best friends, and wouldn’t you know it, the poking war was on. So much so that they were sending 30, 60, and 100 pokes back to each other. He who has Facebook, let him poke.
Many times our conversations about God with non-believers (or sometimes even between believers) are awkward because we are speaking to a person who is on a different level than we are. I’m sure you’ve noticed that when someone a lot smarter than you talks about something you don’t understand. You know they are smart, but honestly you have no idea what they are saying. It’s going way over your head, and quite honestly, it’s awkward.
I think many of our conversations about God are awkward as well. I came up with five bad reasons why we feel awkward talking about Him. (Feel free to add more to the conversation if you’d like as well.)
- We have a fear of rejection.
- We think that the outcome of witnessing is actually up to us, and certainly we play a part, but remember, ultimately it’s up to God. We plant the seed and we give water to the seed every time we witness, but 1 Corinthians 3 says that it is ultimately up to God to give it growth.
- We don’t trust God to be powerful enough to use us.
- Do you believe that God can actually use you to make an eternal difference in someone’s life? God’s word says that we are partners with Him in redeeming and restoring this world…do you believe that?
- We don’t do it often enough.
- So many of us are consumed in our world of Christian friends and church activities that we operate in a Christian bubble. We never leave that bubble and we don’t present ourselves with opportunities to share the Gospel with non-believers. I am guilty of this as well. If we’re too consumed in our Christian sub-culture bubble, then how are the unbelievers in our community ever going to hear the Good News that Jesus died for them and wants to have a personal relationship with them? That’s up to us. One of the worst things Christians can do is to spend time and build friendships only with other Christians. We need to be intentional about reaching out and building friendships with those who don’t know Christ.
- We are the same as everyone else, so if we talk about God we will appear to be a judgmental hypocrite.
- This is huge today! How can we tell someone that faith in Christ will change their life when our life is just the same as everyone else?
- We don’t know God well enough to talk about Him.
- If you don’t know the subject of the conversation then of course you will feel awkward. If you were to lead a class presentation on a subject or topic that you know nothing about, it would be extremely awkward. But if you’ve planned, studied, rehearsed, and prepared well for it you may actually look forward to the presentation. The same is true when it comes to our relationship with God. If we don’t know Him, how can we share Him? You can get to know Him at a deeper level by reading the Scripture and being part of a Bible study.
However, I believe there is one very good reason why we should feel awkward talking about God.
- The message we have is different, it’s unique, and it takes time to explain it. God’s grace isn’t a concept that is easily understood, so doesn’t always make sense. Though it’s an amazing message, it’s also a very awkward message.
- Grace (God’s riches at Christ’s expense) is an incredible gift but it’s not how the world works. In school we are awarded grades based on performance. At work we receive promotions based on performance. In sports you win based on your performance. Salvation is not based on our performance, it is given to us freely by grace through faith in Christ.
So even if we feel awkward when we talk about God, God still asks us to do it. And he says in Matthew 6:10-11, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven…blessed are you when others revile and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.” In other words, you are blessed when others reject you, laugh at you, mock you, and even hate you because you speak the Gospel of Christ. We have a unique message that’s not easy to explain to a world that is works-based and so it should be a little bit awkward. But the great message about our God is that he didn’t come to make us feel comfortable…rather he came, as John 10:10 says, to give us abundant life. When we go out on the line to risk our reputation, our popularity, our friendships, our security, and our comfort we make the message of His redemption a reality for the individuals he places in our lives today!
That’s why we’re here. We aren’t promised that it won’t be awkward…what we are promised is that God is always with us. He believes in us enough to make us partners with Him in changing the world!
Who can you share the story of Jesus with today?