This past weekend I had a great conversation with a close friend who is confused and struggling with her faith. She had all kinds of awesome questions and the reasons behind her doubts were really heartfelt. I love having talks like that when the person is really interested and invested in the conversation. But it really puts my knowledge, passion, and faith to the test! I tried my best to address her concerns and share my point of view, but for days later my mind was reeling with more things I could have said and new ways to explain things. I thought about writing her a follow-up email or something, but didn't really want to be like...okay, here is my dissertation on all things theological from the life experiences and Bible studies of Christy Curley. I'm sure people would jump at the chance to read that, but alas, I didn't think it was the best idea.
It can be tricky sharing your faith with others, at least it is for me. Some people say it's the most natural thing you can do if you have a real relationship with Jesus. Granted, it certainly is easier if you have a genuine relationship, but I don't think it's super natural for everyone. I always want to be careful to be as accurate as possible. There are too many people running around proclaiming Christianity and just stating whatever beliefs sound nice to them. I want to make sure the beliefs I share align with what the Bible teaches. And I want to make sure I approach everything in a way that is honest and not watered down, but also kind, respectful, and not legalistic. I want to keep it simple, but make sure I convey the full magnitude of it all. And even if I did my very best and discussed every single thing I could about the subject, I would still not come close to explaining the full majesty and wonder of God.
This conversation and my lingering feeling of inadequacy afterwards reminded me of this important scripture... But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect - 1 Peter 3:15
We all need to be prepared to explain to the fullest of our abilities, the source of our hope and faith. We need to understand the Gospel so we can tell those who may have heard the basic story line, but never fully grasped the depth and truth and the concept. We aren't perfect and we will always leave the conversation with something more to say. Even our well-versed testimonies have a way of losing something fundamental over the years. So it's important for us, for me, to stay connected to the Lord, to meet with Him regularly and study His word and fully experience life with Him so that when I have these conversations that are important and potentially life changing, I can convey my passion, the truth, and the reason for my hope in a way that will resonate with my loved ones. Anyone can read an article or the cliff's notes version of the Gospel and get the gist of it, but it's with our passion and our personal experiences, combined with study and wisdom, that we can really make an impact.
I'm grateful for that conversation, and hope to one day soon have an opportunity to fill in the blanks that I somehow left out. And I hope with all my heart that what I did manage to say was enough to plant a seed that God can work with! :)