In the late hours of yesterday morning, I was working out in my garage. A black car pulled up and two people, a man and a woman, exited the car and went up to the door of my neighbor. I knew no one was home. Within minutes they were walking up my driveway. I felt a tension, even an anger, in my chest. I could see their big leather bound Bibles. I, in my indignation, assumed I could perceive their self-righteous condemnation. I was right about them coming to tell me about Jesus, and again I was right when I guessed they were Jehovah's Witnesses.
I have developed my distrust of the Jehovah's Witnesses over time and personal experience. I have had them come selling curb painting only to then come back dressed in their Sunday best to win me over to their way. On more than one encounter, I have said, "I am a United Methodist Pastor. I am not interested in converting," only to have them then want to tell me how Methodists are wrong, or how they are right.
Now, I have to be honest, I have gone door-to-door trying to tell being about a church. So, why is it that I am so insensitive to them trying to do the same thing? Mostly, I think it is about the willingness to listen. And having knocked on about 1,500 doors personally, I can tell you it is basically ineffective as a tool of evangelism. Jesus did not come and knock impersonally on doors. Jesus came to be in relationship with people. Jesus came to change lives. Jesus came that we might know God and know God personally and intimately.
I hope the next time I get a visit, I am a little less tense and much less angry. I hope the next time, I can see that Jesus has just come to my door. I hope I will greet him much more kindly, for if I were to be judged on one visit yesterday morning, "I saw him thirsty and did not offer him a drink. I saw him a stranger and I was rude to him."
Did I mention that I was carving props for Vacation Bible School?