When Our Friends Don't Believe
by Craig Borlase
How do you tell loved ones about the Gospel—when they've heard it all before?
Ever since I re-found my faith at the end of my teenage years, I’ve had a group of friends whom I hold dear but who do not share my beliefs. We’ve been through life together; we’ve leaned on each other, annoyed each other and been brutally honest with each other.
The last time we hung out, we went around the table sorting out what we saw as each other’s big issues: Andy’s singleness, Liam’s frustrations, Vincent’s work-life balance, my faith. When it came to my turn to take part in the ritual, they wanted to know why I’d been so keen on trying to convert them all those years ago.
“And why did you stop?” asked Vincent.
I’m not sure if I really answered his question. I said something about valuing their friendship, that our relationship was not dependent on their subscribing to my particular set of beliefs. The next question finished me off:
“Why would you want to convert us anyway?”
It was Liam this time. Why would I want to convert them? This was like a double Christmas for a budding evangelist, the ultimate opportunity to deliver the truth, close the deal and move on to the issue of tithing before the coffee came ’round. Inside I felt the pressure, the temptation to believe that if I just got the combination of words right, if my answer was pitch perfect, then the boys would be weeping with the joy of salvation within minutes. Of course, I knew that it isn’t that simple, that clever words and neat illustrations are not the magic bullet for the yet-to-be-converted. But I still gave it my best shot:
“I suppose that when you’ve found the secret to everything good about life, you want to share it with people you love.”
After two seconds of shrugs and vaguely appreciative nods, the topic was over. I savored my disappointment for a fraction longer, and then shelved it. But the questions remain with me today. Why do they still not believe? Why do I still get tempted into thinking I can persuade them into faith? Why is my friends’ skepticism about Christ so much fiercer than mine ever was?
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