I heard a speaker once say that one shouldn’t share his or her faith without knowing the last name of the person with whom they intend to share. In his opinion, Christians should form relationships and then slowly unveil the Gospel after trust is established.
I tend to agree with this mindset, however it supposes that there are absolutes of which there is no biblical evidence. Christians are to be kind in sharing their faith–that is an absolute. Christians are to share their faith–that is an absolute (the method of the ‘share’ part is up for debate). Christians are to love their neighbor as their self–again, an absolute. But nowhere are Christians given a strict guideline on how to go about sharing or a tidy list of do’s and don’t’s.
That said, I am not one who bandies about the mall, trying to convince strangers to abandon their own worldview for mine. This decision isn’t a moral one as much as an acknowledgement that this has never worked well for me, and I turn a shade of uncomfortable red that only frightens the stranger with whom I am attempting to proselytize.
But some people do the mall thing. They walk around and engage people and try to share the Gospel with them. I don’t especially mind this–regardless of what faith is represented–as long as it is done with no strings attached and in a kind, peaceable way. I mean, if people can try to get me to buy electric cigarettes when I walk by, surely they should be allowed to entice me to listen to what they see as the key to life. But apparently some folks do mind this, as evidenced by the recent arrest of a retired police officer who was peaceably sharing his faith at the mall. It is impossible to see all sides of the coin through one story, but it is interesting nonetheless to read about this tension and dwell on its implications to your own faith-spreading methodologies and how the First Amendment interpretation is just that . . . interpretation.