My son got off the bus one afternoon, telling me his friend doesn’t believe in God. Another little boy decided he can’t be friends with the boy who doesn’t believe, because, he said, “If I’m around someone that doesn’t believe, he could change my mind.” My son chose to still be the first boy’s friend, but couldn’t figure out what he could say to him that would convince him to believe otherwise.
I explained to Bobby that day that if his beliefs are strong, if he believes them with all his heart, he has nothing to worry about. Other people won’t change his mind. Maybe, in fact, he will end up changing theirs. “But what could I say to convince him?” Nothing, I said. Sometimes, if you do things right in your life, and treat people like you should, and give God credit for the good things in your life, they will see God through you and start to believe. He said, “But, Mom, if God didn’t exist, we wouldn’t exist… I mean, it proves Genesis 1 and 1.” I wish it were so obvious and so simple for all of us.
It was a great opportunity for conversation with my child, but thoughts continue to run through my mind. How many Christians do what that one little boy wanted to do – separate themselves from the very folks who need them? We want to preach it but don’t realize how powerful it is to simply show it. So many Christians seem to want to remain apart from those who believe different things. But how will either of us ever grow if we don’t get to know each other? It is through interaction that we refine our beliefs, have a chance to share our faith, and learn to stand firm. We do need to stay fed spiritually to remain steadfast, and there are times that that can only be done in seclusion. But our wonderful Lord didn’t remain aloof. He walked out among people, and because of that interaction, many, many people believed.
Why do I know what I know to be true about God? Because someone showed me. Not by pointing out a scripture, not by singing well at church or holding up their hands as they prayed, not because I saw a big billboard telling me to believe or I’ll go to hell. But I know what I know because I have felt compassion. I have been treated with consideration. I have watched people give of themselves selflessly and without reservation, and I have seen their peace even during times of turmoil. It is true what the Scriptures say: blessed are those who have not seen but yet believe. I want that kind of faith. But I say, I have seen, and it helps me believe.