Bats in the Belfry

Let’s face it, sometimes there are those situations in life that come along and make us feel… uncomfortable. We are unsure of proper protocol. We are uncertain of what to do or say to improve, or move on from, the situation at hand.

For example, sometimes there’s a bat in the belfry and you have to decide if you are going to say something or not. Sometimes it’s hanging there in someone’s nose, waving in the breeze, and you can hardly look the person in the eye for all its flapping.

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(I never said this was a dignified blog.)

You can barely focus on what they are saying because you’re having this inner turmoil, this ongoing conversation with yourself about whether or not you are going to say something… And if you are, how do you broach the subject without embarrassing them or yourself? It’s almost like it’s your fault the thing is hanging there in the first place, and if you point it out, then you are admitting your guilt. It’s a terrible predicament, really.

Of course, we always say we would want someone to tell us if we have a bat in the belfry, so wouldn’t it stand to reason that most everyone else on the planet would want to know, too? And yet, there is still the dilemma. Do we tell them immediately, or let them finish the story they are so animatedly telling us? Maybe we decide it’s a personal problem and hope they check themselves in the mirror before they move on to torture another person.

I don’t know about you, but sometimes I have this same conversation with myself about sharing my faith. Sometimes I find myself caught up in conversation with someone who needs to receive the grace and mercy of the cross so badly and yet I struggle with just how or when or what to say… exactly. They continue talking, but I am having my own personal conversation about my personal struggle. Just me, myself, and the Holy Spirit. Do they really want to hear this from me right now? How will they respond if I say what I am really thinking? Do they have any idea how far off into the weeds they are?

Here’s the truth about the Christian faith. It is personal. But it is not private. Did you get that? It is personal, but it is not private. So many of us were brought up with the notion that you don’t talk to people about those things. Good conversationalists never bring up politics or religion. Here, here. I agree. But I am not talking about talking about religion. I’m talking about talking about the grace and mercy found only in Christ. Religion never rescued anyone. It only binds them. Real freedom is found in a relationship with the living God.

I actually love talking about Jesus and living a life for him. The struggle with when and how and what to share is much less than it used to be. But I still have those inner discussions, when the need to say something (especially to someone far from him) hangs in the balance like a boogie in someone’s nose. They need to know so badly, but I struggle with how to present it in such a way that we are both feeling good about it in the end.

Here’s the conclusion I’ve made on this one. My mandate from scripture is to live my life in such a way that it points others to Jesus, and to be ready at a moment’s notice to give testimony to the assurance I have in him. What they do with that testimony is up to them. I merely bear witness.

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With any luck, it’s the same with the bat in the belfry. I cannot imagine, once told, a person would really be ungrateful for the hearing about it.

And just as a “by the way”- it is my habit, when I do tell someone about the bat in the belfry, to call it a “fuzzy”. We all get fuzzies from time to time, this one just got caught up in their nose. It saves them from embarrassment, and more importantly, it moves them to action.

Sharing the gospel should be just the same. Always done in the most gentle of ways, with the intention of moving them to action.

(If you’ve ever heard a more odd analogy about sharing the gospel, I’d surely like to hear it. I’d like to say the Lord inspires these blog pieces, and I merely write them down… but I can’t pin this one on him.)

One thought on “Bats in the Belfry

  1. Thank you for sharing – I think it IS inspired 🙂 For me, what works is to always keep in mind the fine line between my business and other peoples. The more I stick to this, the less akward situations I encounter. As you are poiting out, my story is mine to share – and how others receive it is their thing. So I can always safely share, not my theology, but my experience from sharing my life with Jesus, without imposing on others what they should do. Because then it’s not a suggestion, ‘just’ a shared experience. And that leaves room for choice of action 🙂

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