November 2020: What do you say to someone who doesn’t think they need saving?

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  • #9357
    Avatar photoRobert Wilson

    This month’s ‘Whaddaya Say’ comes from Brendan.
    He writes: How do you evangelize someone who doesn’t think they need saving?
    It’s easy to evangelize someone who is down, feels bad about their life, is messed up and knows they need to change and knows they need help.
    But what about people who are successful, happy, financially well off? Like a well-educated atheist? That’s where my friends are. When you have a rich lawyer with a Porsche, a hot young girlfriend, a fat bank account, and political influence… how do you convince that person they need to change their life?

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    • #9706
      Avatar photoRobert Wilson

      That was great, Susan!

      Here’s the best of the other responses:

      That’s great that you have all that, but how’s your prayer life? How’s your relationship with Jesus? When’s the last time you went to church? What kind of progress have you made in overcoming the bad habits in your life? (everybody’s got ’em). If you died right now, where do you think your soul would go?
      As a part of the “Listening” and “Befriending” steps in the SPSE method for evangelization, you can use the Socratic method to move them beyond a surface-level existence down into the deeper questions in life. These questions are a way for you to go with them on a journey of self-discovery, until they realize that they don’t have it all figured out and they do in fact desperately need Jesus.
      Nick H

      I think everyone knows they are a sinner, deep down. If they believe in God, they probably know they can’t get to heaven without loving Him and making Him a priority in their lives. They can’t love him and make him a priority if they don’t pray and do the things he wants them to do and avoid the things he doesn’t want them to do. Questions like, “How’s your relationship with Jesus/God?”…”If you died right now, where do you think your soul would go?”
      Steve D

      Praise God that you’ve been blessed with so many great gifts! But at some point, no matter how great things are going, we all know that the things of this life aren’t forever, and so we should explore the bigger questions. Does God exist? What is He like? Does He love me? What does He want for me? Is there life after death? The answers to these questions should shape how we live our life. Have you ever thought about these questions?
      Bob W

    • #9371

      I introduce them to Christ the Healer.
      The salvation language is foreign to lots of people, especially when they don’t perceive themselves as sinners.
      But almost everyone knows where they hurt, what needs healing. I may respond something like this:
      “You know, one of the things that helped me even think about salvation was when I realized that Jesus brought healing to everyone who asked. Physical healing, emotional healing, spiritual healing. People who were powerful in their own way, and people who were the despised and ignored. I really came to believe that Jesus is who he said he is when I reached out for healing. [Insert personal story of emotional healing, because most people need emotional healing of some sort.] It was amazing, really. I was able to forgive that person, when before I couldn’t. Maybe that feels more relevant to your life right now rather than talking about salvation? I mean, who hasn’t been hurt?”

      Depending on where the conversation went, I would share that people who receive healing from Jesus are in a safer, healed place and can become aware of their own failings–but they can ask Jesus himself to heal that breach as well. But if the person realizes that they could be in need of emotional healing (or any other type), I’d ask if we could pray for Jesus to enter into that need right now. Then–especially if they feel they have been immediately healed–ask them to go to Church and thank God for that healing. Ideally give him/her someone sympathetic to connect with, a local priest, etc. (Moving to sin and salvation would ideally be a second conversation.)

      Hope that helps!

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