by Meredith Berger ~
This week I’ve had a few out of the ordinary experiences that have really tested my faith. For my commute to work, I use a ride share service that places me with different drivers each day. It’s convenient, and usually causes no issues – on the contrary, I often find myself engaged in fun or inspiring conversations with my drivers. This week, however, my commute was tainted by confusing and angry speech regarding my faith.
Two days in a row, unprompted, my drivers brought up religion. My Monday driver was a firm believer that believed Catholics altered Christianity against the word of God by changing the Sabbath and following idols, and that male and female relationships between Christians are destroyed by the devil, who creates impure thoughts. It was a lot to take in on a Monday morning and left me unsettled. I listened, but never argued, and went about my day.
My Tuesday morning driver asked me how my morning was. We sat in silence for a few minutes, and then he began a rant on how the Bible is meant to suppress minorities and the poor. He said that God sacrifices Jesus because He sins by turning water into wine (using magic) and that Jesus is Satan, and that Christians are a cursed people who worship the devil – especially Catholics, who he said killed Jesus. That is only a quarter of what I endured on my 45 minute ride to work, all before 8 a.m. Again, I said nothing, and got out of the car at my office.
I should mention that these are vetted drivers, employed by a ride sharing company. I never felt in danger (although that is a risk you take when using these Apps) but it felt eerie to hear two aggressive rants regarding Christianity, which were both random and had no context. I can’t say whether or not it was coincidence, a test, or evil, but I can say that it shook me up a bit. It reminded me of the time a hateful church congregation visited my college and had horrible signs and chants against certain minorities. I wrote an article for the school newspaper how we should allow students to engage with those sort of groups, because it’s important to stand up for ourselves and teach others our opinions. I preached the importance of that, and yet I am disappointed I sat silent in the backseat of these cars.
I didn’t even know what to say in the moment – granted I hadn’t had coffee yet, I also was unsure if I should engage or if that would fuel the flames. I’m sure we’ve all experienced situations that have tested our faith and made us angry and upset, so I’m curious, have any of you ever argued back? Or is it appropriate to turn the other cheek and brush it off as nonsense? I’m not sure if I should have spoken up and defended the Word as it’s written, or if I would have gotten too heated.
What I do know is that 1 Peter 3:15 says, in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect. Here Peter clearly says to offer a defense when someone asks you to witness to your faith. Later, in 1 Peter 4:14 he continues, If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. Taken together, these two Bible verses make the case that not everyone who rails against Christianity is interested in a response. Perhaps this a time where we stop to ask the Holy Spirit for wisdom and clarity over the situation.
I’m not certain of the answer, but as Christians, a point to remember in these moments is that people can argue the facts but they cannot argue with the story of your own personal experiences with Christ in your life.