Coercion vs Persuasion

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“Remember that mindsets can not be changed through force and coercion. No idea can ever be forcibly thrust upon any one.”

Pervez Musharraf

Three of the Gospels tell the same story. It is a story about a person who comes to Jesus asking how to share in everlasting life. Jesus refers them first to the commandments. This doesn’t seem enough, so the person asks for more. Then Jesus, looking at them with love, said, “There is one thing more that you must do. Go and sell what you have and give it to those in need; you will then have treasure in heaven. After that, come and follow me.” At this the inquirer went away sad for they had great riches.

Christ Jesus, who is the revelation to us of what God is like, let them go, still looking on them with love. This is what God is like. God does everything possible to persuade us to follow the ways of love, of life, of kindness, of forgiveness, of acceptance, of peace. We are gifted with a conscience and freedom and God respects these gifts in us.

Our job as Christians is to do our best to be excellent persuaders, for the life of Christians is treasure indeed. I pray that our lives are such that people want to have what we have — joy and peace even in the midst of sorrows and struggles. We do not need to make threats of hell fires or in other ways attempt to coerce people into becoming Christians. We hold others with an open hand in our Church.

My beloved ones in Christ, how persuasive are you when it comes to sharing your faith?

Bishop Kedda

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