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Be Wise Towards Outsiders

April 21, 2008

My door bell rang one afternoon.  This was nothing new.  We live in a busy neighborhood.  My house has been compared to “Grand Central Station” with all of the neighborhood kids & my kids going in and out.

My son answered the door and then came and found me.

“Mom, those guys are here.”

“What guys?” I asked.

“You know, those guys who wear dark pants, white shirt & have backpacks.”

Mormon Missionaries.

“Ok, no big deal.  Let’s see what they want.”  I knew what they wanted.

Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity.  Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt so that you may know how to answer everyone.”  Colossians 4:5,6

 I thought of this verse as I made my way to our front door.  On my porch were 2 very clean cut & well dressed young men. I knew I had a choice, though at the moment I didn’t really consider my choices.  I just knew what I was to do.

“Hi, how are you?” I asked.  They looked a little taken back, that I was not closing my door on them. 

“Uh, fine, thank you.  We are from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and we would like to share with you some information about Jesus Christ.”  His words were very scripted and rehearsed.  I listened to them and we talked.  Because I had a big family I had an instant connection with one of the boys because he was also from a large family.  We enjoyed casual conversation about our families and how fun it can be.  But we also discussed salvation.  I asked them questions, some they had answers to, some they did not. 

I had a choice that day.  I could either be very short with them and say, “I am a Christian and I am not interested in what you have to say.” and they shut my door with them on my front porch.  Or I could talk with them, with grace, and listen to what they had to say. 

I do not agree with the Mormon beliefs for a multitude of reasons.  But that does not mean that I should run away from them or be rude to them.  When I open my door to them, I am taking every opportunity to show the love of Jesus to them.  Even if we disagree, I can still love them with the love of Jesus.

They thanked me over and over for being so kind to them.  Then they said this, and it really saddened me; “You are the first Christian to ever be so kind to us.” 

Moms, we have a responsibilty to our children to let them see us be wise in the way we act toward outsiders.  If they see us slamming the door in someone’s face & talking unkind things about them, they will repeat it.  Honestly speaking, I did not want to talk to those guys.  I knew that I could not convert them.  I really did not have an extra hour in my day to stand on my front porch talking with them.  But as a believer, I have learned that God gives me opportunities in front of my children to honor Him.  They are watching very closely!  They are listening to our conversations and then repeating them to their friends. 

It is a sad day when Christians are knows for their rudeness to unbelievers.  But we are here, moms!  We are in this day.  Are we going to raise up more rude & arrogant Christians?  We will if we are that way ourselves.

Years ago, I was one to slam the door on the Mormons or Jehovah Witness when they came to my house.  I did not want to talk to them.  But the Lord changed my heart.  He showed me that my sin is no less than wrong theirs.  I am no better than they are.  I am just as depraved and capable of evil as they are.  The difference is that I believe in the saving blood of Jesus Christ.  I believe that Jesus is the only way to Heaven, there is no amount of good works that will get me there.  That is how I am different from unbelievers.  I am no better than they are. 

Please be careful how you act toward others.  Whether in the grocery store, at the park, or on your front porch.  Show you kids how to be graceful and loving to others.  They will copy you.  They want to copy you.

 

Father, Help me today to be aware of opportunities that you give me to show my children how to be wise toward others.

 

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. wanderer7 permalink
    April 21, 2008 8:57 am

    you never know who a stranger might be …

  2. April 21, 2008 9:54 am

    You are right!
    Hebrews 13:2
    “Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by so doing some people have entertained angels without knowing it.”

  3. April 22, 2008 4:34 am

    Good for you Dana.

    In the seventies we were actually given pulpit instructions and
    little instructional books on how to get them to move on. I seem to recall something about how they consider it a future blessing (extra jewel on the crown) if they are rejected. I can’t remember if that was Mormon or J.W’s.

    I do know that they both have a very strong sense of recruiting. However, as you mentioned we have the opportunity of using some basic manners. I do think we have the right to say (politely) ‘Thank you for calling but …..

  4. Jesus_saves permalink
    April 22, 2008 6:02 am

    Be careful how you live. You may be the only Bible
    some people will ever read

    His name is Bill. He has wild hair, wears a T-shirt
    with holes in it, jeans, and no shoes. This was
    literally his wardrobe for his entire four years of
    college.

    He is brilliant. He is kind of profound and very, very
    bright. He became a Christian while attending college.

    Across the street from the campus is a well-dressed,
    very conservative church. They want to develop a
    ministry to the students but are not sure how to go
    about it.

    One day Bill decides to go there. He walks in with no
    shoes, jeans, his T-shirt, and wild hair. The service
    has already started and so Bill starts down the aisle
    looking for a seat.

    The church is completely packed and he can’t find a
    seat. By now, people are really looking a bit
    uncomfortable, but no one says anything.

    Bill gets closer and closer and closer to the pulpit,
    and when he realizes there are no seats, he just
    squats down right on the carpet.

    By now the people are really uptight, and the tension
    in the air is thick.

    About this time, the minister realizes that from way
    at the back of the church, a deacon is slowly making
    his way toward Bill.

    Now the deacon is in his eighties, with silver-gray
    hair, and a three-piece suit. His is a godly man, very
    elegant, very dignified, very courtly. He walks with a
    cane and, as he starts walking toward this boy,
    everyone is saying to themselves that you can’t blame
    him for what he’s going to do.

    How can you expect a man of his age and of his
    background to understand some college kid on the
    floor?

    It takes a long time for the man to reach the boy.

    The church is utterly silent except for the clicking
    of the man’s cane. All eyes are focused on him. You
    can’t even hear anyone breathing. The minister can’t
    even preach the sermon until the deacon does what he
    has to do.

    And now they see this elderly man drop his cane on the
    floor. With great difficulty, he lowers himself and
    sits down next to Bill and worships with him so he
    won’t be alone.

    Everyone chokes up with emotion.
    When the minister gains control, he says,”What I’m
    about to preach, you will never remember. What you
    have just seen, you will never forget.”

    “Be careful how you live. You may be the only Bible
    some people will ever read!”

    I asked the Lord to bless you
    as I prayed for you today.
    To guide you and protect you
    as you go along your way….
    His love is always with you,
    His promises are true,
    And when we give Him all our cares,
    You know He will see us through.

  5. Shannon permalink
    April 22, 2008 6:33 am

    Thanks for the reminder, Dana! We all need to remember to let the love of Christ shine from within us and set a positive example to our children.

  6. April 22, 2008 12:53 pm

    You know, one thing that keeps me from talking to them is the fear that I won’t know enough scripture to combat what they’re saying. I don’t like to have my beliefs challenged. I need to dig into the Word more and have it so deep in me that nothing can move me. I hate being confused, so I just stay away from conflicting opinions. Off I go to study my Bible, I hope!

    Love,
    Penney

  7. April 22, 2008 7:18 pm

    Penney,
    I totally understand what you are saying! I have been there myself. Because of that conversation I had with those young men, I not only realized that I needed to beef up on my own beliefs but become familiar with theirs. They came back 2 weeks later & we sat in my living room and had great conversation and my husband prayed over them. but this is what I do know. The Holy Spirit can take our lack of knowledge and words and still speak through us to the depths of their heart if that is what He wants to do. He did this for me that first day and other times when i was faced with an unbeliever. When we are sensitive to His leading, He takes over. It is very exciting!
    But it is always good to have a good foundation of the basics of Christianity. The Trinity is hard to describe, but have some scriptures that support your belief. Know your Bible and where to find verses that confirm that Jesus is the only way (John 14:6). Romans 8 is a great place to start when needing confidence that we cannot lose our salvation. Know the answer to questions like, “Why is salvation by grace alone and not works?” and know where to find the scriptures.
    Then…teach this to your children!

  8. Todd Wood permalink
    April 22, 2008 11:58 pm

    Thanks for your kindness, Dana.

  9. April 23, 2008 1:17 pm

    Thanks Todd! You have a great blog.

  10. Jesus_saves permalink
    April 25, 2008 10:50 am

    Unless we start seeing each other as God’s children, we will fall into the trap of using terms such as “them and us”. We are all God’s children even those who are walking in darkness.
    Our mission as believers is not to preserve our holiness as the pharisees and sadducees did during Jesus’ ministry, but reach out into the hurting world.
    Jesus expects us to have the heart of the good samaritan as he relates the story in Luke 10:30;

    Parable of the good samaritan
    A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he fell into the hands of robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. 31A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. 32So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. 33But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. 34He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, took him to an inn and took care of him. 35The next day he took out two silver coins[e] and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’

    36″Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

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