“A faith that is afraid of other people is not faith at all.” Thomas Merton
I saw this quote today and could not help but think this could describe me at times. First, I don’t enjoy conflict but who does. I try to get along with others, and I think if I stay away from certain topics we can all get along better.
I was checking out at the grocery store the other day, and I was wearing a t-shirt from a retreat, and the clerk asked me if I went to church. I said yes, and then he said he doesn’t anymore and doesn’t feel like he needs to. I thought of all these scenarios in my head of what I could say, like being part of a community is so important, my faith is stronger because I experience Jesus in others and what about not being able to receive Christ in the Eucharist. I was motivated to talk about it, but then my negative thoughts kicked in: What if he thinks I am weird? I don’t want to look or feel stupid. Will I offend him? Will I have the right answers? Will I have to defend my faith? What if I didn’t say the right things and keep him from Christ. No, I just said, “Oh well that is too bad.” I became what I call a Faithful Chicken and was shut down by my fear. For some reason, I kept thinking about what I had done. I felt like I had missed such an opportunity to share about something that is important to me. God had chosen me as a messenger, and I let fear get in the way. So, I went home and thought about what I would say if I were put in that situation again. I thought about why my faith is so important to me. In all this, I realized that if I let my fear overcome my faith, it will only lead to regret.
The number one reason why people do not share about their faith is the fear of rejection. Have you ever wanted to talk about your faith but you didn’t because you were afraid of being rejected? If we share and are rejected, they are not rejecting me and you, they are rejecting Christ.