roamin' catholic: karin rosner

How Not to Evangelize: Christian Deer in the Headlights Moment

Posted on: November 16, 2010

11 And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has already come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.  (Romans 13: 11- 14 ,TNIV)


I had just walked out of one of my favorite salad and sandwich shops, and maybe I was giving off bad vibes or something. I was miffed. The store’s credit card machine was not connecting, and the cashier could’ve told me that before she rung up my food. I had to run back across the street to my bank to get cash while she held my meal for me… but anyway when I finally walked out of the store with my favorite cobb salad and an orange spritzer, I was just ready to go… home. Eat. Relax.

I stopped at the intersection on my way down Seventh Avenue, and well dressed woman in an elegant camel hair coat wearing a gauzy, artistic aire brushed past me and stopped me, “ I just want you to know that you have one of the brightest and most beautiful auras I’ve ever seen. You are powerful! You should see a psychic. I didn’t mean to startle you. “

I had a deer in the headlights moment. I said, “Gee, thanks,” with wide-set eyes and a stunned expression on my face, and let her walk on. I stood still for a few moments more; I couldn’t move.

Once upon a time, I was deeply involved in her world of aura reading, divination and astrology, among other things.

The old Pandora’s-box supernaturally curious Me would’ve asked, “Oh! What color is my aura today? What do you see? How do you know what I am? “

Or, the smart-aleck-y New Age Me would answer with a brilliant smile and a “Wow! Thanks! I read my own cards and runes, y’know.  When you read ‘em yourself, it’s free!”

Or, the deeply jaded NYC Neo-Pagan Me would have responded, “Yeah. I just had to go to the damn bank instead of swiping my damn ATM card for my damn salad, and you’re seeing my pissed off aura. “

But I didn’t do any of these things. I stood still and barely said anything, because I wasn’t quite sure what had just happened in a five-second encounter.

There was a reminder of my old identity, the identity that I’ve left behind because I found a real relationship with Jesus.  That identity doesn’t matter anymore. Whoever God created me to be is forever changed in Christ, but I know I am still a sinner, saved by Grace. I believe in spiritual warfare, and this felt exactly like just one more attempt to jab through the armor of light (v. 12) and remind me of the old me. I don’t want to go back to “her”.

There was an opportunity to tell someone about Christ, and as I walked forward, I realized that I had missed it. I could’ve responded with the truth, the truth that I’ve accepted when I surrendered my life to Jesus:

“That light that you’re seeing, that brilliance is not me. Not me at all. If you see anything, it’s because Jesus’ is covering me, protecting me, loving me , forgiving me, in spite of ME.  All of our “auras” are muddy, violent browns and blood reds if they exist at all. We are sin. We are death. My identity is hidden in Christ, and that beauty that you see is HIM. ( Col 3: 1- 4). Can I tell you about Jesus?”

That bunch of statements probably would’ve startled her and she would’ve transformed into  a deer standing stunned in the headlights, too.

I missed a chance to share Jesus with a stranger. I’ve heard other stories about missed chances exactly like this one, including storiesfrom people I know who are really good in the evangelism department, so I’m not beating myself up about it.  But I am praying about this: the encounter’s meaning to me, and praying for the woman with the camel-hair coat and the dreamy,  gauzy look in her eyes.

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1 Response to "How Not to Evangelize: Christian Deer in the Headlights Moment"

Love the way You write
I believe Only less are blessed to be gifted with wisdom
And I seek such knowledge because I’m a stranger to your religion

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