Conversational apologetics - God helps those who help themselves

(Lakshmi Mehta) #1

I think I just missed a perfect opportunity to divert the topic to an evangelistic conversation. I find I may have answers but still dont know how to navigate the conversation. I am just curious about how you would have used the following prompts in a conversation for a more meaningful discussion. Just need practical ideas for good questions and transitions.

  1. Jesus died for people’s sins but that makes people lazy. I think God helps only those who help themselves.

  2. I feel I was saved by God’s grace as I escaped an accident. Everyone in front of me and behind me got hurt. Some people die suddenly with no one around them but I feel I was protected in a special way.

Thank you!

(SeanO) #2

@Lakshmismehta I am encouraged by our desire to learn how to address these questions in the future. This happens to me as well - where I look back and wish I had had the right words. But God knows what He is doing - and I trust I would have had the words if it had been necessary. Here are a few thoughts that I hope would be helpful.

Forgiveness Generates Laziness

Here are a few possible approaches that might help:

  • Wait a minute. Let’s think about this a little more. Let’s say that you were an orphan fighting for yourself on the streets. Every day you had to beg for food and you were mistreated and called names. One day you were being beaten up and a total stranger saw it. The stranger stopped and drove off your attackers, but as a result was badly beaten himself. You were afraid the stranger would be mad at you, so you called an ambulance and then left. But the stranger found you on the street begging a few days later and adopted you to be his own child. He gave you an education, gave you food, taught you how to be wise and successful and defended you when other tried to shame you. You would no longer call that man a stranger. You would call him father. And you would do whatever he asked, not because you had to, but because you knew he loved you and he saved you. That is what salvation is - we were orphans and God did for us what no one else would or could. We were blind and naked and poor and God took us in. Love is not lazy.

  • That is an interesting thought. But what if we cannot help ourselves? You know, the Bible says that our hearts are so broken that we do not just need God to help us out. We need God to give us a completely new heart. All of the anger and selfishness and bitterness. We cannot get rid of those things, but that is what Jesus did - He made way so that we can get a new heart. Salvation does not make you lazy because when you have a new heart, your actions change. Imagine an elderly man with a weak heart who is tired every day. He cannot enjoy all that he used to and he is dying - losing hope - heading to the grave. But a surgeon gives that man a new heart - as strong as when he was in his twenties. Will he waste that new heart? No - he will go out and do all of things he wished he could have done when his heart was weak. When we get a new heart in Jesus - we will rejoice to be able to serve God and live in victory over evil.

Divine Protection

On this one, I think I would want to know more about what type of deity they believe in. But initially, here are a few questions that might help:

  • do you want to learn more about God as a result of this experience? God has protected us from much more than only car accidents. (talk about the cross if they are interested)

  • what do you think is an appropriate response to God’s grace in this situation?

  • Really, I’ve had that experience before as well. [Share your story and talk about Jesus]

The Lord open the eyes and heart of those with whom you were talking.

(Lakshmi Mehta) #3

@SeanO, thanks for your response and prayer. You always give a thoughtful response in such a short time! I agree while we can prepare ourselves for future we do need to trust God. The ideas you have given are helpful. May be God will provide an opportunity again and I have something to think and pray about.