This will be a rambling post, so be forewarned! At church this morning, the pastor was talking about witnessing. He said that, by smiling at people, we show them that we care.
interesting, in light of things that I have been reading and listening
to this week. I listened to the Free Believers Network's podcast on Being a Person of Grace,
and it touched on how consistently trying to be a nice, patient,
make-no-waves sort of Christian is playing a role and actually can repel
people from you. One of the hosts told a story about a guy who was
like that, and people never came to him for help with their problems,
presumably because he did not seem real to them.
I also read Christian Piatt's posts on avoiding Christian cliches. Click here
to read the final post, which has links to the previous posts in the
series. My impression was that he was arguing that Christians should
invest deeply in the lives of others rather than tossing at them
Christian platitudes, which can come across as dismissive,
condescending, simplistic, and lacking in insight.
when I hear people tell me that I should do this, or not do that, I'm
not always sure about how I can carry out their instructions. In
public, of course I'm a nice, patient, make-no-waves sort of person! Of
course I'm playing a role! I'm usually scared to be around people at
the outset, so, yes, I lean on a role. Perhaps I have even tossed out
cliches because I'm not sure what to say in a particular situation. And you
know what? I'm not particularly interested in investing deeply in the
lives of others. I have enough difficulties making friends, let alone
developing deep community with other people. Some may tell me that's
evidence that I'm not a true Christian. Oh well. I am what I am, and
I'm not about to assume that God beats me up on account of that.
said, while I enjoyed the nuanced discussion on the podcast, and was
guided by the Christian Piatt posts about what I perhaps shouldn't say
to others (since saying socially-inappropriate things can be a problem I
have), I appreciated the advice that my pastor offered this morning:
smile at people. Granted, there is enough cynicism in the world that
some will take your smile to be phony. But smiling at people is at
least giving an indication that you are interested in them. Then, maybe
a relationship can develop. Maybe you'll find that you'd actually like
to invest deeply in that other person. I find that to be a better
approach than giving a "Thus saith the Lord" of "Thou shalt invest
deeply in another person." I mean, when I hear that command, I'm not
sure what exactly I should be doing!
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