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Author Topic: What could you do if a person you know may die and are not Christian?  (Read 472 times) Average Rating: 0
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Maria
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« on: February 14, 2013, 12:42:04 AM »

Kerdy started a prayer thread about the daughter of a supervisor who has a serious heart problem.
This person might not be a Christian.

We all know non-Christians. They may be fellow workers, our supervisor, our neighbors, or the person who usually checks out our groceries at Trader Joes, etc.
What would be an appropriate way to introduce them to Christ before they die?

Some folks are shy and hesitate to ask, or worse they may think that being Orthodox Christian is only for Greeks or Russians.

When I sent several sick people a card saying that I was praying that they would recover, I found out that they were not even Christian, so at first I felt somewhat embarrassed. However, they quickly said that they would like to have an icon card like the one they saw on my desk. So, I gave that little paper icon card to them, and then they began to ask questions about Christianity.

Besides praying in private, what can we do to spread the faith to those in need of salvation?
« Last Edit: February 14, 2013, 12:52:43 AM by Maria » Logged

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« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2013, 12:53:51 AM »


Besides praying in private, what can we do to spread the faith to those in need of salvation?

Live a holy life.
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Justin Kissel
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« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2013, 03:07:20 AM »

I feel like this thread should get a lot of attention... but I'm not sure what to post in it myself  Embarrassed
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« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2013, 05:36:17 AM »

I don't believe it is so much what we can do, but who we are, our presence (as witnesses of Christ) that can accomplish the most.

I think we have to admit that it is very hard to deal with someone who is dying for instance. It is hard for them, as well for us. But, if we are true Christians, anchored in the faith that Christ saved us from this life and death, and brought us Heaven and The Resurrection, then we can impart this conviction through our presence.

What I would do: I'd be honest. I don't want to give people false hopes about this life getting better or not dying. No, this world is full of suffering and ends with death most certainly. However, through Baptism we died and resurrected together with Christ. We are no longer of this world but of God's Kingdom through His Grace. Death and suffering become meaningless, false, non-existent when faced with the power of such a higher reality. So, this is what I would try to convey -- my own deep conviction that I am alive in Christ, and that death and this world do not have any power on me. If they see me live according to this, see that I have found peace, that I am joyous and unafraid, this would help people the most.

This article I posted on my blog might be relevant: http://romanianorthodoxyinenglish.blogspot.ro/2013/02/be-in-state-of-continous-presence-and.html
And in all cases, I believe that it is our presence that can "convert" people. Our humble presence. We must humble that we are Orthodox, not proud. We cannot spread neither fear, nor force people into our beliefs. So, the only thing that we have for them is the example of our own life, be it our humble and loving presence, or the good deeds that we may be able to perform for them.

Also, if we feel that there is nothing we can do to truly help someone, it would probably be best to not do anything and just pray, instead of causing them trouble, especially if they are dying for instance (which is a delicate issue). Or you could bring someone, like your spiritual father, if you feel that they can be a more powerful and beneficial presence.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2013, 06:07:05 AM by IoanC » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2013, 08:55:27 AM »

Baptise them?
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« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2013, 09:01:03 AM »

Allow them to see Christ in our lives through our behavior and actions. 

Sadly, recently, I have not been as good at doing this as I should with my temper slipping out from time to time at work.  Nothing like it once did years ago, but enough for me to see people stop what they are doing and look at me as if I had a grizzly bear standing behind me. 

I agree with Asteriktos, this thread should get a lot of attention.  Thanks for starting it Maria!
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« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2013, 04:24:57 PM »

I have told non-Christians/non-religious that I would pray for them and to date every one of them has been thankful for the thought, even if they don't believe in the effectiveness.  None of them have ever blown up on me for "pushing my religion".  Unfortunately, I sometimes feel that I do not do enough to help people find Christ. 

But towards the OP, I have and will continue to pray for non-Christians, even after their deaths.  I have heard it said that the prayers of a righteous man availeth much.  I don't know if I count as righteous but perhaps the prayers of a wretch availeth something.
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« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2013, 04:59:03 PM »


Pray for them.....not so much that they are healed physically, but, that they find Christ before they die.

Visit them....When you bring flowers, candy...or whatever....bring a small icon card with a prayer to our guardian angel.
Non-Christians may be more open to the concept of angels.....so...start with baby steps....and next time bring them an icon of Christ.

You might even leave them a book to read.

If they are young, perhaps a children's Bible.   If they are older, something with more depth.

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« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2013, 06:40:15 PM »

Great posts everyone. Keep them coming.

Thank you, Liza, for these insights. Yes, an icon of a guardian angel seems to be most acceptable and will bring comfort to those who are suffering.


Pray for them.....not so much that they are healed physically, but, that they find Christ before they die.

Visit them....When you bring flowers, candy...or whatever....bring a small icon card with a prayer to our guardian angel.
Non-Christians may be more open to the concept of angels.....so...start with baby steps....and next time bring them an icon of Christ.

You might even leave them a book to read.

If they are young, perhaps a children's Bible.   If they are older, something with more depth.


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« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2013, 06:49:41 PM »

Everyone I know may die.
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« Reply #10 on: February 14, 2013, 06:52:49 PM »

Just send me a donation and a list with those pagans.  I'll get out of hell. and those I can't I'll pass on to a friend. He's a priest and could use a few extra bucks.
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« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2013, 07:01:43 PM »

My supervisor  btw, just told us that there was this peasant whose wife died. As she wasn't churchy the priest told the widowed husband she was in hell. Husband asked: father do you think there is anything to be done to get her out? Priest said well, you can pay 40 liturgies and he told him the tariff. The peasant said he was too poor so he can't afford that. Then, the priest said, well you can afford a cartload of maize, can't you? Bring it to the rectory and I'll get your wife out. So he loaded the cart with sacks of maize and went to the rectory. The priest started praying as he was unloading. the peasant constantly asking him: how is she, father? She's on her way out, keep unloading. Once he was done unloading, the priest said: she just got out of hell. Upon hearing this the peasant quickly put the maize back in his cart and so the story ends.
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« Reply #12 on: February 15, 2013, 02:33:40 AM »

This is actually a very tough question that I struggle with as well. Admittedly, I'm not very vocal about my religion at all unless the person brings up religion first, because I don't know how they will react to hearing it. I worry that if I come off to strong or fast at first, they may get frightened or offended and lose interest, but at the same time, I worry that if I don't speak up, they'll never know. What are we supposed to do? The whole common Orthodox cop-out for our lack of modern evangelism is usually that we should just "live a Holy life" and let them come to us, but that's horrible logic. ANYONE can live a holy life and do good; that is not going to convince anyone that Orthodoxy is the truth.
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« Reply #13 on: February 15, 2013, 04:29:06 AM »

The answer of living a holy life (so those around us may be saved) is a difficult one. I totally agree with the idea. Nonetheless, even if I do live a holy life--if I read the Bible, fast, pray, am meek, etc.--that doesn't mean that others will notice, especially early on. People might notice a meek and humble person as living a Christian life, but they're just as likely to overlook the person completely. Unless we can get to the point where it starts transforming us so obviously that others take notice, more overt evangelism is sometimes needed to go along with it. And even if it isn't needed, more overt evangeism is often desireable. Though when I say "overt evangelism" I don't necessarily mean that in the most literal sense. It can be overt without people even realising that you are doing evangelism... because the two intersect, and evangelism and living a holy life are often one and the same. Fwiw, here is a list of fairly non-confrontational ideas for evangelism and talking about the faith:

- Offer to use financial donations for outreach and to help inquirers and visitors. For one example, buy in bulk copies of a book, like The Orthodox Church by Met. Kallistos, which can be given to anyone who visits the parish (whether they call themselves an inquirer or not). Or do something similar at a parish festival--buy materials and give them free to anyone who wants them.

- Get involved in local charity work, from simple stuff like food pantry to more complex stuff like setting up a free clinic once a month using the help of parishioners with medical knowledge. The evangelism here is not preaching the Gospel, but living it.

- Have a full cycle of services, verbally commit to attend such services to your priest, and let people know. Invite people. Some people don't want to "waste" a Saturday going to Church, or get up early on Sunday. Fine... meet them where they are. Let them see that they are wrong, that Orthodoxy is more than worth their time and effort. But going further... maybe they can't get to weekday morning liturgies because they work, so have events in the evening. Have youth groups on a weekday night and some activity for the parents scheduled at the same time.

- Use your skills, and ask others to. Good at fixing cars? Offer yourself for giving advice or help. Replacing someone's brakes can be evangelism. So can changing someone's oil. Or fixing their leaky faucet. Or something as simple as giving them a ride to church if they don't have a car (or have some other need).

- Organize special events where the public are invited beyond the typical festivals. My protestant church, for example, always did a free breakfast for the public very early on the first day of buck season. Did anyone ever start attending our church because of it? I don't know. But "try and see" is not just a slogan to say to others, it's something we need to take to heart ourselves.

- Make an effort to chat to people, in school or work or wherever, about topics that aren't overtly religious but can lead into a discussion of the faith if the purpose shows interest. To give an example, I'm currently doing a paper on Dostoevsky, and it is related to his views about doubt. Throughout the semester I will be meeting with various classmates while I develop it, and will be talking to them. Not that this was my intention originally--but simply as a happy by-product--I will be able to mention Orthodoxy and religion while I talk about Dostoevsky, and I'll be able to do it in a manner that is not at all confrontational or pressuring. Similar scenarios can be thought of for work, family gatherings, etc., if we want to be "as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves"
« Last Edit: February 15, 2013, 04:35:25 AM by Asteriktos » Logged

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« Reply #14 on: February 15, 2013, 04:33:38 AM »

The whole common Orthodox cop-out for our lack of modern evangelism is usually that we should just "live a Holy life" and let them come to us, but that's horrible logic. ANYONE can live a holy life and do good; that is not going to convince anyone that Orthodoxy is the truth.

Despite what I wrote above, I disagree with this. People have and do convert because of evidence they see in the lives of others regarding changed lives and holy lives. When I was a Protestant my friend and I started working on our group of friends, and probably 6-8 "gave their life to Christ" within 2 years. Another guy I know who went to the parish, a truck driver named Randy, competely turned his life around, and I bet he attracted a dozen people to our church. Guy was on fire. In Orthodoxy things would work a bit differently, but don't underestimate the importance of the witness you make with your own life. If people see that you are a good person, and someone they want to be like, they will sometimes want to know why you are like that.
« Last Edit: February 15, 2013, 04:47:02 AM by Asteriktos » Logged

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« Reply #15 on: February 15, 2013, 09:01:30 AM »


We should do a census of what spurred the conversion non-Orthodox, to Orthodoxy.  Just what was that initial spark of interest.  Then we could light that same spark in others.
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