“I have answers. Are you interested?”

I have never said to anyone, “I have answers. Are you interested?” Instead, I’ve been very hesitant in sharing my beliefs, because I feel I don’t know enough yet, I get horribly tongue-tied when I try to explain what I believe, and I tend to leap into long lectures that totally miss the point of a person’s question. I’ve also convinced myself that most people aren’t the least bit interested in what I believe anyway, and God has to call people for their minds to be receptive. And what if people feel awkward around me after they find out I’m religious?

I know Peter told us in 1 Peter 3:15 (The Message) to be “ready to speak up and tell anyone who asks why you’re living the way you are.” I admit, then, that Peter thought it quite normal that people would ask. I admit it’s been normal in my life too, because I’ve asked all sorts of questions looking for answers. I felt compelled to ask. So, why aren’t people asking me, then, “to give the reason for the hope I have?” (NIV). Is there nothing they see in me that warrants them asking? Or is it because I give the impression that my beliefs are private, and I only share them with like-minded people?

But what if some people would really appreciate me explaining what makes me tick, because they see me as a person with answers they wish they had? They never dared ask, though, because it’s awkward admitting ignorance in this culture of opinionated know-it-alls. And what if the answers they’ve had so far have been wrapped up in church speak, full of odd and meaningless religious terms? Worse still, what if they’ve been made to think they’d better change their lives or they’re going to hell?

But shouldn’t my life be an answer already to all those worries and problems? I don’t live in fear of hell. I’m not horribly religious. I’m not thinking I know everything. Instead, I can readily admit ignorance, and I’m not afraid to ask questions, because that’s how you get answers.

So why can’t I say to people, “I have answers. Are you interested?” – having asked the questions myself that got the answers. Perhaps I should ask instead, “Are there questions you’ve wanted answers to?” – because the human brain is full of questions, and it won’t rest until it gets answers. It’s the way we’re built, and Peter clearly understood that, that people are dying to ask, and given the chance to ask they will. And who better to ask than a person who has answers, because he dared to ask questions too?

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