Dan Hoffman
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Hello Lighthouse/Fort George,

Have you got a friend or family member who is convinced that, when it comes to belief, everyone is entitled to their own opinion? What do you do when you bump into people like this? 

What do you do if they are in your family?  Do they have a point?  Do we have to just respect them?  Or is there a way to encourage them towards Christ?

As I've walked with people in my own life who have gone through (or are going through) situations like these I've learned that there are a few things that don’t help. 

First – surprize! – freaking out doesn’t help much.

Now perhaps that seems obvious to you, the trouble is this is usually my first reaction.  When someone I’m close to tells me they don’t believe in Jesus anymore it catches me off guard.  And I think the reason for this (and maybe you are similar) is that in the moment I take their crisis of faith as a personal attack – I feel like if I can’t defend Jesus then they are going to stop believing in Him!

The reality is Jesus doesn’t need my defence.  He can handle their crisis of faith all on His own.  And so a friend’s crisis of faith isn’t a personal attach which means I don’t have to freak out.

After I manage to calm down my second reaction is to start preaching.  After all I do this for a living.  The problem is this doesn’t help much either.  The truth is, while many people have been loved into God’s kingdom, very few have been argued into it.  So that means the most important thing to do is maintain contact and keep the conversations lines open.  It turns out love really does win in the end.

But the problem is that “love” for Canadians means never challenging what anyone believes.  In Canada everyone is right no matter how disconnected from reality their belief is.  And the only appropriate response in Canada is to sit down and smile.  But I don’t want to do that.  I want to offer more than just a listening ear… and maybe you do too.

So what can we do? 

Well, if we believe that Jesus really is big enough to handle the faltering faith of our loved ones then what we need to do is pray for three things.  First, we need to pray that He will draw them to Himself.  Second, we need to pray for ourselves that we will be able to walk with our friends through their struggles.  And finally we need to pray for opportunities to speak into their lives.  It’s not an accident that Jesus has put you in this person’s life.  Jesus thinks you’re the right person for the job!! 

Now that hits me as both intimidating and empowering.  It’s intimidating because often I feel insufficient to address all their concerns.  But it’s also empowering because if Jesus thinks I’m the right guy for the job… He’s probably right.  (And He’s right about you too)

Being the right person for the job does mean we’ve got a responsibility to prepare for doing that job.  If we keep loving someone through a crisis of faith, and praying for an opportunity to shine Christ’s light into their life, it’s going to happen.  And when it does we are going to need something to say.

Peter wrote: “You must worship Christ as Lord of your life. And if someone asks about your hope as a believer, always be ready to explain it” (1 Peter 3:15) 

If you’ve ever wondered what you should say when the situation presents itself you aren’t alone.  And lucky for us C.S. Lewis also dealt with this question and wrote down how he would respond to people who had questions about faith. 

The other day I came across a “Doodle Reading” of Mere Christianity that I thought I would share with you.  Below is a link to the first chapter where Lewis makes a great argument for why it is logical to believe in God.  If you enjoy this doodle reading the rest of the book is available on Youtube and has been done very well. 

Standing with you, with our loved ones in mind, before God's throne of grace,

Dan