How to Handle Hostility
"I don't believe in God. I don't believe in the Bible and I don't believe in Christianity."
Ken's eyes flared at me from under the blond hair on his forehead as he cornered me after a campus lecture on the deity of Jesus Christ. He was a philosophy student, and I learned later from others that he seemed to delight in tearing Christianity apart. He seemed ready to tear me apart.I put my hand on his shoulder and asked, "Why don't we sit down and talk?"As we pulled two chairs into position for conversation, I quickly asked God for wisdom. He seemed to be reminded me: Don't argue. Ask questions to find out why he feels the way he does."Tell me what you don't believe about the Bible," I began."I just don't believe it. It's filled with all kinds of contradictions and myths." Ken slouched back in his chair, his arms folded tightly against his chest."Have you ever read it?""Oh, yes--I've read it through, cover to cover."I handed Ken my Bible. "Can you show me what troubles you?""Well there are thousands of contradictions..." his voice faded as he thumbed at the pages."Ken if you just show me one problem or contradiction, maybe we can talk about it."By now, Ken was flustered. He leaned forward, elbows on knees, and leafed through the Bible half-heartedly, realizing he couldn't produce evidence to back up his contentions."You say you've read the Bible, Ken?""Yes.""How long ago did you read it?""Some time ago.""How long? How old were you when you read it?""Oh...I guess I was twelve.""Are you letting what you read when you were twelve influence your life-long decisions? Ken, I think I understand how you are feeling. In my days of agnosticism, I would often parrot what I had heard other agnostics say without checking the facts for myself. But do I discern, Ken, that the real reason you've come to me tonight is that you really want to know God personally?"He leaned back in his chair and his cheeks bellowed as he exhaled loudly. "Yes," he sighed. "I do.""Would you like to examine what Jesus Christ himself said about how to know God? Here's a booklet that explains it..."Together, we went through the Four Spiritual Laws booklet, and Ken invited Christ into his life. We talked for quite a while about his new commitment, prayed together, then rose to leave."Mr. Bright--" Ken stopped us, his hand on my arm."Yes?"His blue eyes had been transformed from hostility to peace. "Thank you. Thank you for not letting my big mouth prevent you from showing me the truth."Despite Ken's loud protests and seeming hostility, God had special plans for him that night. Frankly, I don't enjoy confrontations, but I have learned from many experiences that, like Ken, people who initially respond to the gospel with hostility are often the ones who are the most ready to receive Christ. Deep down, they are crying out for help--their visible belligerence is only a smokescreen to hide their hurt and hunger.The above is an excerpt from Chapter 10 of Bill Bright's book, Witnessing Without Fear. It is a great and real life example of how we can share God's love with people who seem hostile.