Picture*photo Credit http://commons.wikimedia.org
I used to take the train into the city everyday for work. The thing about commuter trains is that no one interacts with each other, even though they're all in it together. Riding the same train, going to the same destination, and mostly for work. But no one talks. Every puts in ear buds, or buries their noses in books in avoid conversation, eye contact, social interaction.

Once I sat next to co-worker on a train and we didn't recognize each other for two stops. This is true and shameful, but it's proof of how people fear anything that breaks them free of themselves.

Once I was riding one of these trains, early in the morning, sitting next to a woman occupying her time with knitting. She never looked up from the yarn and needles for the whole trip.

When we got to the final stop most everyone stood from their seats and waited impatiently for the train to come to a complete stop and the doors to open. While we all stood there in silence, the knitting lady cleared her throat and loudly announced "I hope you like India!"

I assumed she was talking to a friend, maybe someone was going on vacation, maybe she had a blue tooth. 

And then she continued "...cause that's  where all your jobs are going!!" and she proceeded to go on a long solitary quasi-political, very xenophobic rant about the economy, India and whatever else. I had already tuned her out.

What I did notice was how the other passengers also ignored it. They put in their ear buds, looked away, rolled their eyes or pretended it didn't happen.

Ignore the lone nut on the train.

Another morning while riding the El train, another lady in very loud voice called everyone to "repent, and turn towards Jesus!" Again, I looked to the fellow passengers. Same reaction. Rolled eyes, ignore the lone nut on the train.

What's the point?

The point is context. Standing up and loudly telling everyone that they are wrong is fruitless. It gets nothing accomplished. People won't care what you have to say until you prove that you care about them.

This is why we need to "love our neighbors", not preach to, not condemn. Not demand that they repent. Love will make the way in. Love will open the ears and hearts. The way we write off people with words or phrases will never make a difference. It only pushes people away and makes us more solitary.

Only listening to people, opening our hearts and lives to others will make the slightest difference in this world. We are called to bring Heaven to earth. Do it with love.

I know it's scary because when you love, when you care, you are vulnerable to get hurt. That's okay. It's true. Christ made Himself vulnerable.

He laid down his life.

He bled.

We can lay down our comfort zones.

6/28/2013 01:47:14 am

This is the same reason I don't see street evangelism working either (in my experience). It seems that when relationship is developed and we show that we care, ministry can follow. This is bringing heaven to earth (Gods love for His lost). If you preach at me to repent and I don't have relationship with you (or God), it feels like you're just judging and condemning me.

Thanks for this - Blessings.


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