The drama started when I tried to engage people in a spiritual discussion by posting a brief ‘ad’ on Craigslist. One of the replies was, “Jesus is a myth, just like the Easter Bunny. Please stop posting your crap on Craigslist, you’re not getting my money.”
Though the question was originally posed as an attempt to initiate discussions, I’ve used it several times as a training tool for Christians. For instance, I asked people on LinkedIn, “What do you think would have been a good reply to that and why?” Here are some responses.
Lisa: I don’t want your money. I’m sharing an important message. If you don’t like it, you don’t have to read it, but I’m hoping that you will be blessed.
Lisa’s Why: It’s a good reply because it’s not antagonistic, and it lets him know you’re not looking to line your pockets. You’re blessing him whether he reads it or not and maybe this nice reply will make him go read it!
Jamal: I would have said something along the lines of it being great that he took the time to send a reply, but this message is for those that want to receive it and Craigslist doesn’t say that you can not pose questions to viewers.
Jamal’s Why: The reply is good because as Christians we need to ask ourselves wwjd. I think that this person, obviously not a Christian, was touched in some way by your article or question for him to respond as such. His reply, to me, is a slap in the face and inviting confrontation, we are supposed to do the opposite. This guy is probably waiting for you to respond to his comment so he can “let you have it” even more.
Sandy and Stacey had very different thoughts. Sandy said that before doing anything she, “…would have prayed and not responded for at least several hours.” Stacey said, “I have found it best to leave people alone who have no interest in the gospel and are hostile to it, so I would not have responded to it.” She also listed some passages from Scripture to support her decision.
So who’s right? Lisa, Jamal, Sandy, Stacey? This may surprise you, but it’s not so much about right or wrong, as it is a search for clues; clues we can use to better share the Good News.
Lisa said a good reply is not antagonistic. That’s a great clue, especially because the Bible tells us we should be respectful in sharing our faith. Jamal thought the writer from Craigslist was touched in some way by my article. Do we know how he was touched or why my article affected him? Now that might be a clue worth investigating.
Think back to the reply that started this discussion, “Jesus is a myth…” What clues might we get from that? Consider how you’ve tried to communicate a strongly held opinion or how you were treated when you did. Was there a clue to be learned from that experience that might help you know how to respond now to our Craigslist ‘friend’?
Becoming more effective at sharing the gospel is a learning experience for most of us. We can all become better at it, especially if we study the Good News Clues.
Is there something you’ve learned about evangelism that might be a helpful clue for another believer? Share it with us! Do you have a real life evangelistic situation and are not sure how to deal with it? Ask us a question!
Did you miss the earlier parts of the Drama on Craigslist?