Thanks to my 7th Grade Spanish teacher and 3 trips to Guatemala, I’ve picked up a little Spanish. On my most recent trip, I found I had picked up just enough Spanish to almost engage in a conversation with someone, but then had nowhere to go because of the language barrier. It was SO FRUSTRATING!!! I’m a talker, I majored in Communication and talking is what I do for a living. So, for me, only being able to have shallow chats with people and not having the words to go deeper was really stifling. Fortunately, the Guatemalans I found myself in this position with were very gracious. They seemed to appreciate that I was at least trying to speak their language, even though my heart to communicate far exceeded my ability.
I sometimes feel the same way when I get into conversations with people about my faith. I know enough about what I believe and the Bible to start a conversation with people, but once we go deeper, I sometimes struggle to find the words to articulate why I believe what I believe. Has this ever happened to you? There are a plethora of books and websites that can help you find the words you need to have conversations about your faith. Josh McDowell’s website, Josh.org is a good place to start. New Christians and long-time Christ followers alike could probably all benefit from a lesson in apologetics.
On the other hand, I have met many Christians who are extremely well educated in theology, doctrine and the Bible, but seem to lack the compassion and love in necessary to communicate that knowledge in a way that others are receptive to. In 1Corinthians 13 Paul emphasizes the importance of love in our communication with others, saying, “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.”
Paul reiterates the point that the language of our faith is a language of love. We can have the words and the ability, but it is love that allows the message to penetrate other’s hearts.