Thursday, October 4, 2012

Words of Comfort: Open Door

<< From what I understand, we're all born as sinners. If a child dies, they go to heaven. There's an age of accountability. So, my question is, when witnessing to someone, and talking about honoring your parents, why would you mention "were you ever naughty as a child?" Or when you talk about stealing, why mention "did you ever steal something small even when you were a kid?" Do our sins BEFORE the age of accountability count? Don't get me wrong, I know that everyone commits all of these sins even AFTER the age of accountability. I'm not trying to let anyone off the hook… I'm just curious about using those examples in witnessing… >>

Firstly, there’s a reason I ask, “How many lies do you think you have told in your whole life?” I could instead ask a direct, “Are you a liar?” But I know I wouldn’t get too far. But when I ask how many lies do you think you have told in your whole life? It makes it a game for them. There’s no conviction as yet. It’s gentle. I want them to open up the door of their heart to me, and if I push too hard, they will slam it in my face.

It’s the same when I ask "Did you ever steal something small, even when you were a kid?" I could instead ask, “Are you a thief?” or “What have you stolen lately, huh?” But I think the door would quickly shut. It’s too pushy.

Asking if they took something “even as a child” is a gentle question. What harm is there in admitting that—“it was a long time ago, and I was just an innocent child that didn’t know any better.”

Secondly, there is also the thought that proud people usually trivialize their sins. When I ask if they have lied, they answer, “Yes, as a small child, I told fibs and little white lies.” When I ask if they have stolen, they will say “I stole a small candy bar when I was just a little kid.” I strongly suspect that they are lying—that they were much older, they were bigger items stolen, and that there was nothing little about their lies.

Again, I am letting them say these things because I want the door to open wide, and I know that it will come with the other Commandments--I know (with God’s help) that I can get them with the blasphemy and lust questions. It is kind of awkward for them to stay with the trivial thing, and say “I just used to lust after little women, as a small child.”

So when I say, “I’m not judging you, but by you own admission you are a lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterer at heart,” my suspicions are usually confirmed because they no longer try and justify themselves. They admit their sins. The door is open.

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