How can a Child be Confident in their Beliefs while Respecting People with Opposing Beliefs?
Hey Camp Family!
Lauren Stacy, Camp Travis Women’s Director, gives perspective on how to give a reason for the hope we have in Christ Jesus…even when others disagree.
1 Peter 3:15
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…
In recent years, you have probably heard more about cancel culture and people creating their own version of “truth”. As believers we are often faced with the question of how we can show Jesus and His gospel in a world full of many beliefs unlike our own. How can we do this respectfully without sugar coating the severity of sin? How can we show love and represent the gospel well without compromising the truths Jesus has revealed to us?
We have a perfect example for how to walk through these conversations in Jesus’ encounter with a woman in Samaria in John 4. Women typically collected water from the well in the morning hours because it was cooler, but this woman made this trek in the hottest part of the day because other women would not associate with her, for she was an adulterous woman. Jesus was at the well when she arrived and asked her to draw some water for Him. She was shocked by this Jewish man’s request since Jews considered Samaritans unclean and unholy because their beliefs differed greatly from Jews’. Jesus knew who she was and what she had done, but He revealed Himself to her as the Messiah, the Savior that so many, including her, had been waiting for.
What does this mean for us and how can we explain this to our children?
Jesus shared His mission and His love with this woman without dragging her through the mud because of her sin. Nor did He hold any prejudice against her because of her people group. He was so much more focused on loving her well by explaining what He’s about (salvation).
As we think about this idea, here are some practical things to keep in mind about sharing our faith with those who have different beliefs than us:
- Remember knowing Jesus is the first step – God is love. (1 John 4:8 & 16) It’s easy to get hung up and frustrated on things that divide us, but our first priority in conversations with others is leading them to Jesus. We can do that by making sure we reflect Christ’s heart of loving them well!
- Teach biblically based beliefs and discuss differing beliefs we may encounter with our kids – the Lord desires for us to know His word because it strengthens our relationship with Him. Having some familiarity with other popular belief systems can prepare us and our children to knowledgeably engage in loving, gospel centered conversations.
- Be open in conversations – ask people questions about what they believe and strive to meet these conversations with loving truth. Jesus made the Samaritan woman and others He engaged with feel known.
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect… 1 Peter 3:15
- We can love others when we recognize how much God loves us…extending grace in communicating is an overflow of this understanding.
- Every ounce of energy we spend and every minute we invest in teaching kids scripture and having conversations about our learning is well worth it!
- Ask God for help when talking with someone who holds an opposing view point from yours. Jesus has been there and done that. He can surely help us!
- Read Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus in John 3 and His interactions with the Samaritan woman in John 4 to learn more about how Jesus spoke with people with different beliefs.
- Have conversations with your parents and/or others you have seen do this well about how to share the gospel with those around you.
- It’s ok to give conversations like this a shot and not get it all right! Love God and love others is the aim…grace covers our blunders.