A friend of mine just came out as an atheist to me today. She knows me well enough that I didn’t condemn her nor tell her I would pray for her. I do pray for her, but we have already had the conversation about how that statement seems a little condescending. I think she said when someone tells her that that it seems like they are saying they are right and she is wrong. I assured her that of course that is what they are saying but to them it sounds reassuring rather than an insult. Just shows that even well intentioned comments can be hurtful.
It was nice that she felt comfortable enough to express herself and her beliefs. I tried to restate them to make sure she understood that I know where she stands. It was all rather quite nice. I will still pray for her and we will end up talking about this again, but there is no judgment towards her from me. People usually don’t just end up atheist without something to help get them there. For me, it was a lack of answers. It was the same for her. I imagine it is that way for a lot of people.
I stopped assuming awhile back that people all believed the way I believe. I know that most people don’t. There are similarities of course, but there are fewer and fewer people who hold the same beliefs I do about God. I think it helps to be honest about that in order not to isolate yourself from others. If you assume too much about people, they are unwilling to share with you because you really don’t know them.
It is hard hearing that when you feel like they will be lost. If the person is truly your friend, wouldn’t you honestly want them to be saved? I have to balance that desire with the knowledge that God works in His own time. If I rush the process, not only will I hurt my friendship, but I am basically communicating to the world that I don’t trust God to take care of it. Patience is not always my strongest attribute, but it seems like the one God is always working on. He will prevail.