Talking with Strangers

It’s been a long while since I went out intentionally to talk with people about Jesus. Too long. Setting time aside to share about the love of Jesus with others is important but difficult, and easy for me to blow off. But the Holy Spirit has been drawing my heart again to the desire to share this Good News that lives within me like a flame. Fire can only stay pent up so long before it either breaks out or dies. And I don’t want to smolder out slowly. So, yesterday afternoon, I met up with some friends from church and we went to a local college campus to walk around, talk with people, and offer to pray with them.

I have to say, it can be almost physically awkward to walk up to someone and start talking about God. We don’t have any sort of cultural norm for it—walking up to a stranger is odd enough in our culture, let alone trying to strike up a conversation about spirituality and G-O-D. People look at you like you’re crazy, or like you forgot to put pants on. I was joking with one of my friends as we were walking around campus yesterday, saying how nice it would be if we had some sort of cultural hand symbol that signified “Hi, I don’t know you, but I’d like to talk to you about something really important. Is that ok?” Then we could just throw the hand symbol at people and see who responded. Ha.

But that is not how American culture works. To talk with someone requires actually talking with them, breaking that impenetrable silence that resides between strangers. Now, if I was asking for directions, or commenting on the weather, or telling another woman that I like her outfit, the broken silence would be acceptable. Yet when I actually try to start a conversation—an actual, meaningful conversation—it is seen as strange.

I try anyway. It is worth it. The moments when there is a crevice in the wall of silence between me and another person, the moments when I get to talk about God’s love and what he did by dying on the cross and rising again, the moments when I see a flicker of longing on that stranger’s face—it is worth it. It is only worth it because Jesus is worth it, and because the awkward moments carry the weight of dust in comparison to the love of God. I am learning, still, that my own comfort within the cultural norms of our society is a small cost in comparison with the opportunity to tell someone that the God of the universe loves her and is waiting for her with open arms.

Share your thoughts!