Confessions of an Obnoxious Christian
I stood on the stage thumping the strings of my bass guitar. My friend Bill rushed by with lighter fluid in his mouth. Bill stopped mid-stage, held his lighter close to his lips and blew. POOF! A ball of flame shot outward.
The hardcore band I played in during my freshman year wasn't that great, but we did have Bill the Mad Man—who was even more wild and entertaining when he did drugs. But the summer before my sophomore year something happened to Bill.
He went off to a Christian camp and came back a different person. He cut his shoulder-length hair and spent a lot of time talking about what he called his "new faith in Christ." Because he was my friend, I listened to what he had to say. I even started hanging out with him at his church. Before long, I also discovered the faith that had changed Bill.
For me, it was a radical transformation. I tossed out my secular rock music, ripped up my concert T-shirts, and gave up smoking and drinking. I also told everyone why they should do the same. Needless to say, my old party friends weren't too open to what I had to say. So Bill, a couple of other Christian friends and I started in on the other kids at school.
We constantly talked about the importance of accepting Jesus as Savior. One time I was in the library working on a report. I sat down with a group of guys, opened my Bible, and started telling them why they needed to turn to Christ. My history teacher came by and said, "Jeremy, you need to work on your report."
I looked up at him and thought. It doesn't matter if we do this report. It does matter if these people die tonight. So I pretty much ignored him and kept on talking.
I know I got pretty obnoxious sometimes, and turned a lot of people off, but it was like I had the cure for cancer—at least for spiritual cancer. I wanted everyone around me to take the medicine, even if it meant forcing them to swallow it.
Then one night my youth pastor gave a talk on "friendship evangelism." He stressed that we show whether or not our faith is real by the way we act around others. "You need to love your friends to Christ," he told us. "You need to be there for them when they need you. When they see that you're a trusting, caring person, there is a good chance they'll start asking questions about why you are the way you are."
After that night, I thought a lot about what he had said. I had come to Christ partly because of my friendship with Bill. He was by no means perfect; he had a lot of struggles. Yet he was my good, close friend—and it was his friendship that made me think about why I needed a relationship with Christ.
I realized that I had a few things mixed up. I had not been very loving toward the kids at school. I had never even thought about being their friend. I had simply wanted to "win them over to my side." After that night, I started talking a little less and caring a little more.
During the winter of my senior year, I began hanging out with a guy who really liked to ski. We spent a lot of time together on the slopes. I didn't talk much about my faith at first. We talked a lot about skiing, though. As we rode the ski lift together, as we wove our way down the mountainside, as we paused for a needed break, I tried hard to just show by my actions—more than by my words—what my faith meant to me.