Food Court Conversions
I used to street evangelize in college for fun. Yep, I was that girl.
Think about your door to door evangelist or salesman experiences… but in the food court at the mall instead.
I’d slap on a cute headband, grab my duck-taped Bible, and spend my afternoons interrupting people mid-bite of greasy Chinese food to ask them where they were going to go after they died.
(Mmmm how appetizing.)
I’ll confess, my conversations with unbelievers in the food court would somehow make me feel a little bit more “right” with God. Earning those imaginary brownie points in heaven felt really good.
But there was this one conversation I will never forget…
He was a foot taller than me. Wearing a dark T-shirt layered under a plaid flannel. His hair was long, brown, and loosely curly. His glasses were thick and pressed up against the crown of his nose.
I honestly don’t remember what I said, but I remember how I felt. I knew he was ready for battle within moments of approaching him. Me, being the puffed up theology major and all, was also ready to rumble. Flinging out my facts and arguments faster than I could recite the books of the Bible (which is crazy fast I might add.)
After 30 minutes of arguing with this stranger, I knew the conversation was going no where. So, naturally, I asked if I could pray for him. (Because, how else do you close up spiritual situations?)
He reluctantly agreed. I basically had to get on my tip toes to reach my arm up to touch his shoulder and I began to pray. As I prayed, he lifted his hand up to use it as a puppet, opening and closing his fingers in my face to mimic every word I prayed. I said Amen. Rolling his eyes and stomping off, we parted ways.
I left the mall and sat in my car and cried out of embarrassment.
The Holy Spirit remind me of Jude 1:22-23.
“Keep being compassionate to those who still have doubts, and snatch others out of the fire to save them. Be merciful over and over to them, but always couple your mercy with the fear of God. Be extremely careful to keep yourselves free from the pollutions of the flesh.”
Here, in my attempt to snatch strangers from flames, I forgot to be mindful of my own easily polluted motivations.
What fell in the wake of my street evangelism that night? Strife, division, performance, frustration, and confusion. Just Incase you didn’t know, those aren’t fruit of the spirit.
Living for Eternity in your Until, isn't just about what you do, its your character. My motivations had clouded my ability to love well. I believed that it was MY responsibility to convert human souls. “If it was meant to be, it’s up to me!” I thought. I wanted to get to heaven with the long list of people I saved and brought with me. It was a talley mark kind of process rather than one built on relationship and trust ... as God intends it to be.
Truth is, I will give an account before God for one soul, mine.
I’ve felt myself being pulled back into that selfish motivation this year. Treading on the edge of the political, social, and religious noise waiting for the right moment to jump in with my rebuttals. The real motivation though, was proving myself right not loving others well.
ME centered, not GOD centered.
No matter if you’re in the food court, church service, or swiping through the internet, I humbly ask my Christian friends to search your heart. Ask God to test you and invite God into your anxieties and motivations. He will show you what to say, when to say it, and how to say it well.