Recently as I was walking through campus, I ran into two young gentlemen. These gentlemen stopped me and asked, “Where do you find your hope?”I hesitated, and that started the chain reaction of events leading to these young men sharing about their Mormon faith. I listened and talked with them for a good 15 minutes and as I was walking away, I was struck with these questions: How can I be that open and ready to talk about my faith? Why wasn’t I ready to share about what I believe? Why did I get caught off guard?
In 1 Peter 3:15 we are told to “always be prepared to give an answer for the hope that we have.” Well I messed that up. But here is the good news, I got a wake up call from a couple of young Mormons. I realized that I have a story to tell, I know what I believe, and I don’t mind talking to people. So why did I hesitate?
I think I hesitated because I was in an area of comfort and assumption. I was comfortable with not asking the tough spiritual questions at Baylor. I was comfortable building relationships not based on faith. I assumed that everyone I encountered at my private Christian university, was some sort of Christian. I assumed that the good, wholesome people were automatically Christians. The truth is that even at my Christian university, there are Muslims, Atheists, Mormons, Baptists, Hindus, Buddhists, Catholics, and so on and so forth. There are the “lost” and the “found”. There are people who haven’t been introduced to faith. So now I have to throw out my assumptions, and begin to talk to those of my friends about where “their hope lies.” I am going to have to get uncomfortable and ask the deep spiritual questions. Why? Eternity is a long time and a big deal.
But Brennen, I can’t just walk up to someone and start asking about what they believe when I just learned their names for the first time.
True, but the people you meet and begin to get to know, you should ask the tough questions. Find out what they believe, find out where they find their hope for each day. Then you will connect to people on a spiritual level and be able to encourage them in their faith and you in yours.
Do not worry about trying to have a theological discussion with someone who is just asking questions. It is ok to say “I don’t know.” Make sure that if there is something you can’t answer, find out so you can tell the person who asked, but also so you can know as well.