Seems to be quite some time coming back here. Anyway my story here is about my friend who has been a failure in life.
By definition of failure, I meant he has no stable job, no career and old. His only main support is not even his family as he is adopted and his adopted parents and grandparents has passed away leaving him with some inheritance, a house and a small plantation (which supports his frugal monthly living).
He has been living an irresponsible life in regards to everyone, his studies, his relationship, his relatives, but surprisingly he has good PR skills and making friends easily.
The thing here is that he has developed a sort of mentality of a seeker which in his definition a very paradox worldview of no answer is real but there can be many answers. Which I constantly debated with him how illogical such thinking would be and the application to lifestyle/ belief. The worst part was that he believes he is seeking a superior path than anyone who has ever came before and has neither following any religion nor theory.
After many months of debates when I finally aligned his ways of belief with the thoughts Buddhism on Brahmajala Sutta, he finally went berserk. It was at this point I realised that I have broken his superiority original belief to support his current mental state of mind of living in an inferiority complex all this while. I also realised that pushing further would cause him to go suicidal.
If anyone here has any experience with such history, kindly share and explore in what method of evangelism would be proper to move forward. Thanks in advance for anyone who is sharing.
First off I wouldn’t consider your friend a failure, I wouldn’t take that approach. I feel when you have that type of attitude toward someone you already loose a considerable amount of respect. Maybe respect isn’t the right word. I think of John 8:7-9
“So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.”
John 8:7-9 NKJV
I wonder what Jesus was writing in the sand.
We all fall short of the Glory of God, no one can get to heaven except through Jesus. Knowing this, your friend is an opportunity for discipleship and attempting to destroy what he believes to be true may most likely kill your efforts to represent Jesus. Compassion will get you much further, mix that with a little empathy. We all come from different backgrounds and walks in life, but remember no matter how long you have walked down the wrong path you have the choice to turn around. Our job is to show that choice is available through Jesus.
We have to remain open to who the LORD presents to us when we share the gospel. I have had people flip out on me. I think you got close to his “truth” and exposed it. People get mad when that happens. The LORD is using you to plant some lifegiving words on the broken fences of his private Idaho.
Pray for him as God places him on your heart. Remember Jesus told us we won’t get a standing ovation with His message of Sin and God’s plan of reconciliation. I don’t get it either. Everyine wants a free gift, don’t they?! – But the devils philosophies and living life without the love of God is a desperate place for anyone to live. Me, myself, and I. Don’t take him personal. Ephesians 6. We are in a battle. And we are more than conquerors in Messiah Yeshua Jesus.
Pray in words and intercede in your prayer language to the Lord on His Behalf. Ask God to bind the forces of darkness that are keeping him chained. And pray for more opportunities. God knows. He desires all people to know Him personally. Good work! Keep it going.
I just wanted to encourage you and commend you in reaching out to your friend - as Christians our job is to be sowing the seeds of the Gospel and pointing to Jesus; and then the Holy Spirit does the work of convicting of sin. It’s not our job to force conversions or to completely destroy others’ worldviews - we want to be gently leading people towards Jesus.
Only you know your friend, so perhaps this is a breakthrough; and suddenly it’s occurred to him that all truth claims are exclusive. Even the statement ‘truth is relative’ or ‘there is no such thing as absolute truth’ are truth claims which are absolute truth claims and logically self defeating.
Perhaps the way forward is to move away from a debate format, towards more of a discussion between friends?
There are 4 areas that make up a worldview; perhaps you could ask him what he believes in these 4 areas? Don’t give him answers, let him talk about his views. Questions always help build conversation - and questions sit with the other person even after a conversation has ended. If we really stop and think about it, we can try and ask questions that cannot be pushed away.
4 worldview questions.
How do you think the universe came into existence?
How do you think human life began?
What is the purpose of human life?
How do you determine good and bad?
What will happen at the end (at death)?
Maybe in terms of moving your friendship forward, just have a rest from the debates and just show Jesus’ love towards him. Build some bridges and find common ground, perhaps asking questions to learn more about him?
Is your friend interested in reading books? Ravi Zacharius’ testimony is very powerful and he was on a bed of suicide, before he met the person of Jesus Christ… Ravi’s testimony is shared in the first chapter of his book ‘Jesus among other gods’. Maybe you could read the book together with your friend and discuss it?
In a world with so many religions, why Jesus?
We are living in a time when you can believe anything, as long as you do not claim it to be true. In the name of “tolerance,” our postmodern culture embraces everything from Eastern mysticism to New Age spirituality. But as Ravi Zacharias points out, such unquestioning acceptance of all things spiritual is absurd. All religions, plainly and simply, cannot be true.
Jesus Among Other Gods provides the answers to the most fundamental claims about Christianity, such as:
Aren’t all religions fundamentally the same?
Was Jesus who He claimed to be?
Can one study the life of Christ and demonstrate conclusively that He was and is the way, the truth, and the life?
In each chapter, Zacharias considers a unique claim that Jesus made and then contrasts the truth of Jesus with the founders of Islam, Hinduism, and Buddhism with compelling insight and passionate conviction. In addition to an impressive breadth of reading and study, he shares his personal journey from despair and meaninglessness to his discovery that Jesus is who He said He is.
“ In Jesus Among Other Gods , Ravi Zacharias demonstrates that he is one of the most intellectually gifted as well as spiritually sensitive writers of today’s leading apologists for the Christian faith. Zacharias brings alive the unique power of the claims of Jesus about himself and the utter relevance of his message today for the human condition.”
Hi, @Kenny_Chen! Just curious what made you think that your friend would be suicidal if pushed any further? If this truly has broken him, he’s going to need love, grace, and pastoral care more than rational arguments. He may even need professional psychological support. (I don’t know if this is readily available where you are based, but it is worth considering.)
Robert Ruark authored a book entitled " Something of Value" ,a fictional book based on the MauMau insurrection in Kenya in the 50’s. His title he derived from an African tribal quote that reads; " When we take away from a man his traditional way of life, his customs, his religion, we had better to make certain to replace it with something of value." . Though Mr. Ruark was lost as a goose, he understood the value of this statement. I assume your friend is seeking an acceptance or value he has not known and is grasping at any straw that comes by. unfortunately, any contradiction to his belief is taken as more of a personal affront or offense to his own intellect which I imagine he struggles with. Therefore, taking a course of questioning can sometimes add fuel to the fire. Christ gives us an example of dealing with unbelievers through love, grace, and service. He never pushed them but gave them the opportunity to come to Him. Our knowledge helps us to understand this principal and give them an honest informed answer, but it is our life and Christlike service that helps to open the heart to the Spirit. Emptying of ourselves, moving out of the way, allowing the Holy Spirit to take over. Love of Christ is the “something of value” that replaces the broken heart, spirit, and culture.
If I was in your position I would get an ‘old’ Bible study on John’s Gospel which you came across while cleaning out…, and ask him to go through it with you as you would be interested to see his point of view on it.
If your friend has the failure mentality you need to point out in God’s eyes we’re all unique and he didn’t write off Adam & Eve, Jonah, Moses, Paul, Peter.
Somehow a sharing of testimony has become a war of words. We are not in court here where I need to explain every inch of the details (which I would never be so picky to reveal every things he made) just to explain the conclusion of the word failure. I know my friend for more than 30 years and I think I can come out with a conclusion better than anyone here who has not even know who I am talking about. If you think I am wrong with my conclusion please do fly down here to Malaysia and get to know him in person and maybe you can come out with a different conclusion, otherwise please refrain on being a keyboard warrior commenting the word failure and starts sharing if you have such similiar encounter and explore how to evangelise to such people.
For those keyboard warriors who haven’t even start evangelising, do start with your closest friend with an anti-religion worldview and share your evangelising experience. God will definitely open a whole new perspective for you.
My country doesn’t accept psychology problem as a common thing. I do agree some degree of psychological help is needed however he has not yet withdrawn into seclusion like most suicidal cases before the act. Although I may say his case might be different, as most suicidal are introvert but he is very extrovert. Extrovert suicidal are usually unplanned and react on impulse (at least that’s what I know from experience not from reading).
Furthermore consultancy quality on this field are highly variable depending on the fees. It’s an optional exploration but not really reliable unless you are richly invested into it.
Thanks for your prayer, Kathleen. May God Bless you abundantly.