Interacting with those who are not like-minded
I have been dealing with this, personally, as of late. Sometimes I become frustrated with those I am interacting with, and sometimes I am frustrated with myself or angry because I feel that I have failed, and sometimes I just get my feelings hurt because of sheer pride. The things below are thigns I need to remind myself of when interacting with, or preparing to interact with others, especially Christians, who are not like-minded on some of the things I hold so dear.
1. At worst you will probably be labeled a heretic, a blasphemer, and thrown out of the house. At best, they will probably still think you are out of your mind. All humans, by nature, oppose and suppress God's truth. Why should it be any different in this case?
2. Christ is glorified wherever His truth is presented, even if it is rejected and those who present it are ridiculed.
3. It really isn't about you. If your goal is anything other than proclaiming the truth which you love, for the sake of Christ, then don't even bother. Its really about the proclamation of His truth which, as the Bible tells us, does not go out and return void. Even in the foolishness of men God is glorified -and that is what our best attempts are compared to His majesty: foolishness.
4. Even if you present it perfectly and are not stumped by any objections they raise of Scripture verses they appeal to, they will probably still not be convinced and think you are nuts.
Yes, there are times when the Spirit of God moves and opens eyes in a sudden manner, but I have to realize that it very often doesn't happen over night. I sometimes get this mental image of myself busting through the gates, Bible in hand, proclaiming the truth, citing Scripture, exegeting the Word, and blowing away the objections of those I am interacting with. They are so overwhelmed by the clarity of my presentation and the Scriptures themselves that they announce, "Oh my! I was so wrong! Praise God!" Makes me want to be sick to look at it, but that is the kind of attitude that often overtakes me. If that resembles your idea you can get it out of your head right now. Interaction should be prepared in prayer and must be executed in prayer, and the "progress" is often not something we can even see or measure. If someone does not agree with you, it is usually for a reason they feel to be very compelling. Our job is to patiently, lovingly, and prayerfully chip away at the un-Biblical assumptions they cling to that hinder their acceptance of Biblical truth. And in the end, we are but dull instruments in the hands of the Holy Spirit. It is He who brings light, so let us be humbled and seek His help.
Father, grant me patience that I may not become upset with those who resist your truth. Grant me love, that I may speak to them in love, as brothers and sisters, in displaying Your truth. Grant me humility that I may not see them as less than myself for denying it or not seeing it. Grant me wisdom that I may be able to give an answer and point to Your Word alone in answering their questions and objections. Grant me child-like faith, that I may trust in Your Sovereign hand no matter how well or poorly the interaction goes or how well or poorly I defend your truth. And in all of this, grant to me that I may trust in you humbly even when I am utterly defeated before the eyes of those who resist these things. In Christ's name, Amen.