Have you ever spoken with someone and wondered if what they said is what they meant? Chances are yes. Communication is central to our daily lives and sincerity in words and actions is essential. To encounter a sincere person can be life changing as it comes from a place of love. Let me tell you the story of a young woman I met the other day whose witness to truth and sincerity swayed the beliefs of a young man she worked with.
Last summer, I was living just outside of Traverse City and working on a farm. There was a man working there who was about the same age as me, and we would spend a lot of our time outside talking about history, philosophy, and religion. When I first met him, he was staunchly atheist and even slightly hostile towards religion. However, he was open to discussing religion and God. He tried to understand why I was Christian even though he had no interest in becoming one himself. I openly discussed my beliefs with him and used logic and reason to support my arguments. I was happy to have these conversations with him, but I didn’t think I was making much of an impact on his beliefs. Shortly after I moved back to Ann Arbor, I got a text from him saying he’d decided to become a Christian. I was shocked at his sudden change of heart and called him to ask what made him change his mind. He said my use of logic, my willingness to admit when I didn’t know something, and my search for the answers had inspired him to start asking himself some serious questions. He hasn’t decided which denomination of Christianity he wants to join yet, but I’m hoping to convince him that Catholicism has the fullness of truth he’s looking for!
This young woman’s witness perfectly exemplifies how sincerity can win others over. She didn’t discuss religion with him just for the sake of converting him—if she had, he probably would have sensed that, and it may have turned him away from Christianity. Her talks with him came from a place of genuine interest in the topics and in what he believed. He was a friend first, not just an atheist she knew. Her sincerity clearly inspired openness within him that allowed Jesus into his heart. May we all have such a wonderful opportunity to love and evangelize!