I have a family member who is not a big fan of religion or even God for that matter. Discussions about faith are always treacherous and any reasonable facts or concepts are not going to get through. Needless to say, we don't talk about it much.
Instead, I try to live my faith as openly as I can, talk about people who are living their faith, and share a couple grace-filled moments whenever I can.
Surprisingly we had a very open, calm, and rational talk the other day, and it all started with an agreement. I've found that most of the time, people who are angry or rejecting God have very reasonable problems. Whether it's the way some Christians treat others, injustice in the world, suffering, or just the difficulty of believing in something bigger than yourself, they are all reasonable questions.
When we can understand how someone else can't understand, we can enter into the discussion without judgment or fear. Each of these issues are hard to understand. Several of them are the same things that people of faith struggle with. The only difference is that their response is one of faith.
Injustice in the world? God put us here to do something about it and gave us the ability. Treating each other poorly? None of us is perfect, so we look to God for reminders of how we should act. Sometimes we forget that. Suffering? God gives us grace to endure it, and can bring blessing from it. Hard to believe? Sure it is. But then again, it's really hard to deny.
When we can come from a place of agreement, it's amazing how much further we can go.
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