Being an atheist in middle school, high school, and (most of) college meant that I was a mission field for my Christian colleagues.
“I value your bravery,” Christians students would tell me. “It must be very terrifying to live in a world without God.”
Looking back with a Christian lens, I realize that in many cases, I could have told them the same exact thing.
The thing I remember most about the Christians at my school was that these Christians always seemed very fragile. They would know the right words to say, but they never seemed to mean what they said. They would always smile, but the smile never seemed real. The Christian community at my school was always experiencing some form of drama, but none of the Christians seemed interested in resolving these conflicts.
People outside of the Christian community called them hypocrites. We never took their attempts to evangelize us seriously. Come to think of it, we never took them seriously.
But now that I am a Christian, my heart goes out to the Christians who tried to reach out to me. I understand now that the brothers and sisters who approached me knew that the world saw God through them. They felt burdened by this reality and were always trying to represent Him well.
“If I cry, the world will think that God doesn’t provide for me,” they would think. “If I tell my friend that she hurt my feelings, the world will think that God doesn’t bring unity.”
My heart breaks to understand the burden which they daily took up. They were always looking over their right shoulder and their left shoulder to see who was watching. They were always worrying what others thought of them. They were so focused the world around them that they forgot to look in one very important direction: up.
If you feel that you are carrying a similar burden, please listen to Pastor Foley’s sermon:
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