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'What Else Can I Do?': Confessing Christ And Bearing With One Another In A Chocolate Factory

As you know, I've been taking a brief hiatus from regularly blogging here with any depth until I've had a chance to prayerfully consider all the content presented at the BJS "When Heterodoxy Hits Home" Conference from last week.

I'm still committed to that, but a series of events that have either taken place (or are about to) are just too good and too relevant not to share them with you at this time.

So, yesterday, I was talking with a Nepalese co-worker of mine and was slapped in the face by his attitude and reaction about all the sorts of things that we've been discussing (all the things that have been plaguing me lately)!

He told me that he spent 6-7 years as a teenager studying the Buddhist religion at some temple back home. He even spent part of that time leaving Nepal to go live and study in India too. His family was so proud of him.

Then, one day, when he returned to his village, he learned that all of his closest friends were converted to Christianity! They told him about Christ and he became a Christian! He eventually married a Christian woman, they moved here to America, and they're now raising their young daughter in a Christian Church!




As our discussion continued, I asked him how tough it's been to convert from being a Buddhist to being a Christian and whether or not he's lost any close family members or friends.

He proceeded to tell me about his parents and how they think he's crazy and have refused to talk to him as much as they used to.

As sad as that was to hear him say, it was the way he said it that left an incredible and lasting impression on me, especially in light of everything we've been talking about lately!

He said it, not with anger, not with bitterness, not with any trace of deep depression or even self-pity, but with what I could only classify as genuine, real peace and joy! He even said it with a smile and a chuckle!


ME: "Man, I'm really sorry to hear that. I know how tough that can be because I've lost family members and friends due to my faith too so I know what you're going through and will pray for you and them."

HIM: (With a smile and a chuckle) "Yeah, but what can you do? It's the truth, right? I know this. Jesus died for me, and for them, and for everyone, but they don't get it. It's like, 'Hey, Ma, Jesus is the Answer! He's the only way, you know?' What else can I do? So I just keep praying."


Now there's a young man who has been blessed with "the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding" (Philippians 4:7), IMHO!

I don't say that lightly either. I mean, here's a kid who has left everything to come here, and who some might say has even lost everything in the process too (by losing his relationships with his family when he converted to Christianity), and yet, he's actually gained everything in the atonement of Jesus Christ, and the best part is that he knows it!

Unlike me, his emotions and feelings about it weren't tempered by Satan's whispers of "Do you really want to be a Christian if it means your own mom will hate you?" and "How can you be so sure that Jesus is the Savior when you studying Buddhism for seven years and should know better like everyone else in your family?"

Sure, it was only a 15 minute conversation, and so, for all I know, he could be hurting immensely inside about his current situation and just did a great job of hiding it from me.

I'm not so sure though. If that was truly the case, then I think that would've been the ideal moment to let his guard down and show a glimpse of such feelings. We were the only two people in the factory at the time and have become pretty good friends by now too so it wouldn't have been an uncomfortable or unusual conversation between the two of us either.

Instead, all I heard from his lips was peace and joy in proclaiming the truth and all I kept thinking to myself the whole time was how it stood in stark contrast to my depressed, negative, sullen statements all the time about my own similar (but not nearly as bad) situation.

My point here is not to somehow say that we should always hide and run away from our feelings (even the bad ones that will invade our lives from time-to-time). I'm also not suggesting that we're not a "True Christian" if we don't respond to the same circumstances the way my Nepalese friend has. That would be absurd.

My point here is the impression that this conversation had on me as well as the timeliness of it all in regards to all the things I've been struggling with and writing about lately. To put it another way, none of it was lost on me.

In a strange way, it was both comforting and reassuring to hear and to see how somehow else who calls themselves a Christian responds to the presence of false teaching or how they respond to it in the way that I want to be able to (Lord, please help me!).

I'm so grateful that we got a chance to confess Christ together and bear with one another like that in, of all places, a Chocolate Factory.

In a Lutheran layman's terms, I work around sweets all day long, but the sweetest thing about the place yesterday evening wasn't the chocolate that was everywhere, but the childlike, faithful, joyful confession of Christ crucified for the sins of all mankind coming from my new Nepalese friend who makes it in the face of false beliefs from family members.

"What else can I do? So I just keep praying."

Amen!



NOTE: I'm not a called and ordained minister of God's Word and Sacraments. I'm a layman or a Christian, Candy-Making, Husband, Father, Friend who lives in the "City of Good Neighbors" here on the East Coast. To be more specific, and relevant to the point I want to make with this note, I'm also a newly converted Confessional Lutheran who recently escaped American Evangelicalism a little over a year ago. That being said, please contact me ASAP if you believe that any of my "old beliefs" seem to have crept their way into any of the material you see published here, and especially if any of the content is inconsistent with our Confessions and Lutheran doctrine (in other words, if it's not consistent with God's Word, which our Confessions merely summarize and point us back to) so that I can correct those errors immediately and not lead any of His little ones astray (James 3:1). Finally, please be aware that you might also discover that some of the earlier pieces I wrote on this blog back in 2013 definitely fall into that category since I was a "Lutheran-In-Name-Only" at the time and was completely oblivious to the fact that a Christian "Book of Concord" even existed (Small/Large Catechism? What's that!?!). In addition, there are some entries that are a little "out there" so-to-speak since the subject matter was also heavy influenced by those old beliefs of mine. I know that now and I'm still learning. Anyway, I decided to leave those published posts up on this website and in cyberspace only because we now have this disclaimer, and only to demonstrate the continuing work of Christ and the Holy Spirit in my life (Hebrews 12:2; Philippians 1:6). Most importantly, please know that any time I engage in commenting on and/or interpreting a specific portion of the holy Scriptures, it will always closely follow the verse-by-verse notes from my Lutheran Study Bible and/or include references to the Book of Concord unless otherwise noted. Typically, I defer to what other Lutheran Pastors have already preached and taught about such passages since they are the called and ordained shepherds of our souls here on earth. Finally, I'm going to apologize ahead of time for the length of most entries. I'm well aware that blogs should be short, sweet, and to the point, but I've never been one to follow the rules when it comes to writing. Besides, this website is more like a dude's diary in the sense that everything I write about and share publicly isn't always what's "popular" or "#trending" at the time, but is instead all the things that I'm studying myself at the moment. For better or for worse, these posts tend to be much longer than most blog entries you'll find elsewhere only because I try to pack as much info as possible into a single piece so that I can refer to it again and again over time if I need to (and so that it can be a valuable resource for others -- if possible, a "One-Stop-Shop" of sorts). Thank you for stopping by and thank you in advance for your time, help, and understanding. Grace and peace to you and yours!

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About JKR

Christian. Husband. Father. Friend.

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Thank you for visiting A Lutheran Layman! Please feel free to leave a comment or a question since we do not exercise censorship. We've seen a similar policy with other blogs and it's worth repeating: Please act as if you're a guest in my home, and we'll get along just fine. I think anyone would agree that the kind of back-and-forth that is characteristic of blogs/chat forums and social media is becoming tiresome for all of us. Still, we should confess, edify, and love (and contend and defend when needed). Bottom line? Search the Scriptures! Apply Acts 17:11 to anything and everything you find here and, if you do happen to disagree with something you find here (which is certainly ok), or think I'm "irresponsible" and "wrong" for writing it, then please refute my position by supporting yours with Scripture and/or the Confessions. I don't think that's an unreasonable request, especially for those who identify themselves as "Christians" here, right? Besides, Proverbs 27:17 tells us "Iron sharpens iron, and one man sharpens another" and 2 Timothy 3:16 says, "all Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness." If you have an opinion that's great, I welcome it, but try to support it using God's Word. I mean, if the goal here is to help us all arrive at the truth of God's Word (myself included), then it should be easy to follow through on this one simple request (I'm talking to all you "Anonymous" visitors out there). Grace and peace to you and yours!

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