I might have been a bit harsh. Number two son certainly thought so. Because my exchange with the two Jehovah’s Witnesses on the doorstep caused him to turn his attention temporarily from the Wii and pay attention to what was going on in the world around him! And he actually asked me ‘Dad, wasn’t that a bit harsh?’ He may have had a point. My kids often do when they challenge me! But not content with picketing every major bus stop and tube station with their newly designed literature and corporate logo, they’re now doing what they do best; door knocking. Whatever you think of their theology (and what I think of it will soon become clear), you have to admire their devotion to their cause.
It’s fair to say that the exchange got ugly early. I was pressed for time, they’d knocked on my door when I was engrossed in something else and they were masquerading as Christians. It got my goat. And so I decided to cut to the chase.
‘My issue is that you don’t have a big enough view of Jesus’.
‘What do you mean?’ the astonished man responded, temporarily thrown from his pre-prepared patter about giving me the invitation of a lifetime to attend some heretical mass rally at the ExCel Centre.
‘You don’t think Jesus is divine’ I suggested.
‘He’s the Son of God’ he retorted, presumably thinking that I’d be fooled by his semantic sleight of hand.
‘But do you think he’s divine, do you?’ I pressed.
‘No’ he said looking over his shoulder at his silent but senior minder.
‘And that’s my issue. You’re deceiving hundreds and thousands of people into believing a lie. You’re a menace and you need to stop and leave’.
‘There’s no need to be so rude’ he countered.
‘Yes there is’ I suggested, in a louder voice than I was expecting, ‘you’re not treating Jesus as he deserves to be treated’. But I think it was the ‘you need to repent of that or leave’ which signalled that our exchange was over.
When Peter instructed Christians how to respond to those who want to know the reason for the hope that we have, he talked about gentleness and respect (1 Peter 3:15). I’m not entirely sure I exhibited either. In fact, I’m certain I didn’t. Is the fact that he wasn’t actually asking me for the reason for the hope that I have ample justification for my borderline rudeness?