Ask Abbie: How best to share your faith

Published 10:50 am Saturday, July 6, 2013

Question: I work at a local place where food is served. Last Sunday a customer dressed in his church clothes got upset and started yelling at my co-workers and me. This happens on a lot of Sundays. It upsets me but a couple of my co-workers get really mad. They say people like him are one reason why they don’t ever want to go to church. I have tried explaining what being a Christian is really about, but they either ignore me or get more upset and won’t let me finish. Nothing is working. How can I get them to listen?


Answer: Your co-workers, to no fault of their own, are not listening because hardened hearts have caused deaf ears. This is the presumption you must assume from here forward when attempting to communicate with your co-workers about Christianity.

Not only does God support this premise directly through His Word but also indirectly through the human anatomy. 1 John 3:18 declares, “Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth,” while 80 percent of what the body perceives comes through the eyes and 80 percent of what the mind retains consists of images. Through this combination God makes obvious the potential for non-audible actions to pack a more powerful punch to the spirit as well as to the brain than any form of verbal communication. It is now up to us to do our part and make obvious His love through our actions.

The following steps will help you form a loving action-based communication strategy appropriate for your specific situation. Each step will be supported by scripture to keep the focus on God and not on human opinion.

1. Be forever kind, compassionate, and quick to forgive. Ephesians 4 makes clear this directive. As you proceed to work as a representative of Jesus remember His image never reflects aggression or passivity. He does, however, leave His actual fingerprint whenever a calm assertiveness prevails. Next time a customer starts to unleash upon you, immediately pray for wisdom about what to do, remain calm yet firm in your stance, and act according to how you are led. Remember, although your co-workers remain unable to hear they will undeniably be taking visual note of your unwavering and peaceful actions and reactions.

2. Be real. Avoid the potential of being labeled as a hypocrite by standing fast in your convictions, by remaining consistent, and by holding yourself to the same expectations of which you hold others. Titus 1 provides ample support for this initiative by revealing anyone who professes to know God but denies Him by his works is detestable, disobedient and unfit for any good work.

3. Be prayerful. Ask not only for your own wisdom and strength to handle every second of every day but also for the hearts of those around you to soften. James 1 and Isaiah 41 guarantee the Lord’s wisdom, strength and help throughout any and all situations while many scriptures, including 1 Timothy 2, instruct us to pray for others. Once you make your request known to God it is then up to you to exercise your faith by “letting go and letting God” and by waiting. Persevere and the hearts around you will begin to soften and the ears within your voice’s reach will begin to hear.

One day you may be asked how you can remain so calm and joyful regardless of your circumstances or you may be accused of trying to appear happy when you really aren’t. Should any fortunate occurrence similar to these examples happen recognize it as His hand at work for without it you would not be witnessing such an obvious display of softening hearts. Next, give Him glory for the work He has done and is continuing to do in those hearts and then issue a statement about how you find your peace. Use “I” rather than “you” statements to avoid raising the defense mechanism of your audience and limit your words to only those God nudges you to deliver.

Research has proven that a tie wrapped too tightly around the neck can increase the risk of glaucoma in men. Every time a disgruntled tie-wearing churchgoer gets angry his tie tightens in response to his bulging neck. We need to pray he will realize, and make a reparative change to, the long-term damage he is doing not only to his body but also to his mind and spirit. Until then we can only hope he will opt to wear something a bit less formal.

Abbie Long is a Franklin native and advice columnist for The Tidewater News. Submit your questions to