Have you ever been stranded? No, not like that- I mean REALLY stranded? Not “I can call ____ and they’ll be here in 4 hours or less” kind of stranded. I mean I lived in Norfolk, VA. I was stuck in Las Vegas, Nevada’s airport. I had missed my flight due to the hotel I was staying in. I had no extra cash- totally gone. I knew no one and I was there on a business trip that I paid for myself because I ran one of those out-of-your-home, paid-$200-for-this-kit kind of MLM businesses. (which I’m not a fan of, btw. That company is now out of business.)
I knew no one. I had nothing but my carry-on. No food, no water, (the security team took it from me), no way to get anywhere, no money and no hope.
I did what any sensible woman would do. I had an asthma attack and then I cried for 3 hours straight. I called everyone who had a phone to beg for some money to get home. I sat there in the Las Vegas airport 5 feet from a woman who stared at me from the time I first collapsed into tears until her flight was called.
She gets up with her husband and puts a piece of paper into my hand and tells me “honey, you don’t have to cry, just give it all to Jesus.”. And then walks away.
Lady, you watched me cry for hours. You didn’t once come over to get to know me. You didn’t see if I had a need, or if you could pray with me. You handed me one of those Christian tracts that no body reads anyway about my choice to go to hell or not.
You had ZERO clue that I was already a saved Christian and if I wasn’t, you assumed that this little piece of paper did your duty of sharing the gospel. You had no idea of my need, you just told me in your own way that this little paper was going to solve all of my problems.
I’m sure you felt good after that. I’m sure you felt as if you had done your Christian “duty”. You may have felt like you earned your evangelical merit badge for the day. Congratulations.
Here’s what you didn’t do:
You didn’t earn any souls for Christ that day. You didn’t earn a friend, and you didn’t win your spiritual merit badge. What you did do was hurt a fellow sister in Christ. What you did do was ignore a true need so you could stay in your seat and not have to learn about a problem that you may or may not have been able to resolve, but at the least you could have prayed for. What you didn’t do was offer compassion, only cold, unfeeling paper telling me to choose Christ over hell.
Now, I know this sounds bitter, and you’ll likely never actually read it, but it did make a huge impact on me that day. I vowed that day to not be you. I vowed that no matter how uncomfortable it would be, I will talk to people and see if there’s an immediate need that I can take care of. If there is something beyond my capability, I will pray for them. I will pray with them, and I won’t be ashamed to do it wherever I am.
You see, your hurting me (however unintentional and I don’t believe you intended to truly hurt me) made me a better Christian. I vowed right then and there to never hand out those crappy little tracts because what good would it to if that person were already saved? Nothing. What good would it do if that person weren’t saved? Nothing- they’d mock it or not read it. It’s passive and lukewarm Christianity at best and it does not win souls, or help.
And being lukewarm and passive is no way for a Christian to be.