The Pain of Conversion
A few years back, I once more went on Leviathan, the longest, fastest, and steepest roller coaster at Canada’s wonderland. My son and I sat in the very front seat. While after years of riding roller coaster I am quite comfortable with them, I still feel the racing of my heart and the adrenaline begin to pump when I first sit down and ascend the summit of the first plunge. Even though I know I will enjoy it, there is still a twinge of fear but not nearly as much as my first time.
As with all things big and new, fear is a default reaction. So it is when we challenge people, or nudge them towards abandoning old beliefs to embrace a new one about Christ. While we are quite comfortable, for them it is incredibly scary just to think about, let alone tempt their heart to consider.
We can often forget that there is genuine emotional pain when we call people to consider Christ. There is great uncertainty and insecurity to abandon what they have only known to fully embrace what is so new and uncertain to them. That is why, when we invite others to receive Christ, we should not rush them to make a decision, coerce them or in any way increase the pain they are already feeling. All spiritual births take time—just like physical birth.
We will be much more effective as witnesses for Christ is we regard the dignity of each person by empathizing with their pain as they consider the call of Christ to convert!