You Can’t Force ‘Em — For Disneyland or Faith
I’ve been to Disneyland with many different people, and most of them love Disney, too—or at least enjoy it. However, I have been a few times with people who don’t think much of Disneyland, and I’ve talked to several more…as hard as that is for me to understand.
In these visits and conversations, I’ve learned something very important: I can’t force someone to like Disneyland.
There are certainly things I can do to make it more likely they’ll have a positive experience, and thus more likely to begin to like it. I can…
- Find out what they enjoy about other fun things they do (so I can try to find something similar);
- Ask them what interests them, and highlight those aspects of the park;
- Go during less crowded times;
- Go at their pace;
- … (What else am I missing?)
The more they experience it in the best possible way, the more likely they’ll enjoy Disneyland, but only if they are open to it. Even under the most favorable circumstances, I can’t force someone to enjoy themselves and begin to love Disney like I do.
Trying to “convince” someone to become a Christian is like trying to make someone enjoy Disneyland.
Exposure to the best sides helps, as does honest discussion/recognition of the difficulties they see and questions they have. But even then, God does the convincing, and they still have the choice to accept or reject the truth (and the Truth).
In Acts 26:28 – Paul “almost” persuaded Agrippa to become a Christian, but the “convincing” came at Agrippa’s invitation to speak.
In the very next chapter, Acts 27 Paul shared his faith/conviction directly when there was a need that was expressed. At that time, the people were ready to listen.
People will enjoy Disneyland more if they come with someone who loves it. People will be drawn to Christ if they are with someone who truly models Him. But we can’t change them. That’s up to God.
Meanwhile, show love. Spend time together. Be an example and don’t hide your faith, but don’t force it or try to find ways to manipulate conversations to . When the Holy Spirit has prepared the person, either they’ll ask or He’ll make it clear to you. As you wait, be patient and trust God to work in them.
Question: Have you ever been surprised when someone you thought had no interest in being a Christian was suddenly open to it? Talk about it in the comments below, or on our Facebook page.