How to begin any conversation with an unbeliever + weekly news
Wisdom toward Outsiders
Conduct yourselves with wisdom toward outsiders,
making the most of the opportunity.
Let your speech always be with grace,
seasoned, as it were, with salt
so that you will know how to respond to each person.
Seize the Opportunity
In today’s verse we find Paul telling us what we should do every time we find ourselves in a conversation with an unbeliever. Most Christians know they are to share their faith but are afraid of being embarrassed or ashamed if they can’t answer a question or respond in a clear and convincing way. Paul is saying that the encounter is an opportunity that is to be seized, and he lays out the simple strategy we are to follow.
Grace will Save the Day
He gave similar advice to the Church at Ephesus when he wrote Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, that it may give grace to those who hear (Eph. 4:29). The idea is clear: Grace will save the day. These two verses are saying that if the first words from our mouth are filled with grace, the person’s response will let you know how you should proceed. That indeed is conducting ourselves with wisdom toward outsiders and making the most of the opportunity.
The obvious benefit of this approach is that you will set the tone of the discussion and disarm a potential adversary. In a previous article I tried to show how believers have entered into in kingdom in which grace reigns—a kingdom in which the power of grace permeates everything. It lays the groundwork for a life of grace. Today’s article shows how we can rely on grace to help in a specific situation—one to which we are all called—to make a defense for the hope within us with gentleness and reverence (grace).
Of course, you will need to be prepared. Sometimes, a clear presentation of the gospel of grace is sufficient. At other times, answers to their questions may be necessary. Sometimes, their response to your opening words of grace will make it clear that they are surprisingly open to seeing how their core belief system (atheism) is based on a lie. I highly recommend The Atheist Delusion on YouTube. It’s a skilled, powerful, but gentle repudiation of the lie behind the basic atheistic premise. I deal with this in my book Is This All There Is? which is available on my website. It’s a great tool (only 80 pages) to give to your unbelieving friends (or to yourself). It takes advantage of the disillusionment most people are experiencing after all that’s happened in the past few years.
Sharing your Christian testimony may also be helpful, but the point is to have a plan and begin with words of grace. The easiest way to remember this is to let your speech always be with grace. Make it a lifestyle. Don’t let your flesh have a chance to mess things up. If we are to thrive in the difficult days that are upon us, we must show our love for our Master by obeying His commandments, including what we call the Great Commission (Matt. 28:18-19). This is why we’re here. It’s past time to stop playing church and take our calling seriously. It’s time to conduct ourselves with wisdom toward outsiders.
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ON THE LIGHTER SIDE
Joe Biden’s version of old sayings:
Don’t change horses on the other side of the fence.
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