The Other Person's Shoes
So many things we say and do as Christians come off terribly because we don’t think about it from the other person’s perspective. For example, in the South, inviting people to church is really common. But, have we ever stopped to consider how that looks from the other side?
Suppose a Muslim friend of yours invited you to come to his Mosque with him. Does the idea of attending a religious service seem odd when you don’t believe in Allah? Does potentially having to participate in prayers to him feel awkward? I should think so. Why would a non-Christian feel any different in a Christian service?
Things look different when you switch sides.
Perhaps, it wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world if we took the time to think about things from the other person’s side. If we want to reach someone, we should first think about how we would want to be reached.
Personally, I would not want to be invited to a religious service. If someone (Muslim, Atheist, Hindu, etc.) wanted to convince me of their particular view, I would prefer to have a conversation about it in a neutral location. Maybe we could go get coffee together and my friend could tell me a little bit about his beliefs and ask me what I think. I think I would be a little more open to that.
How would you want to be reached?
Take a minute and think about how you would want someone to approach you (if at all). Would you be open to listening to a stranger, or would such a person need to be a friend? Would you want to hear their story or have a more factual discussion? What would such an interaction look like? Before talking to someone who thinks differently, think about this. Perhaps, if we step into the other person's shoes for awhile, we might make a better impression.