My neighbor is trying
to convert me

feet_150My neighbor is trying to convert me. She wants me to go walking with her. At the park she likes to go to. At the times when she’s available.

She’s told me how much she loves walking there. She testifies about how good she feels when she walks. In fact, she wasn’t always a walker, but she was saved from a sedentary, nutrition-less existence. She didn’t realize how much better life could be when you’re healthy and active and out in the sunshine and fresh breezes.

Walking has changed her life, and she wants it to change mine too. She’s trying to convert me.

But I don’t want to be converted

I don’t feel the need. In fact, I’ve told my neighbor that I already walk. I walk at least once a day. I’ve been walking for years, all over the place. I walk around the neighborhood. I walk to the store. I take the stairs instead of the elevator. I park away from the door so I will have farther to walk. I walk alone, I walk my dog, I walk with friends and family. Walking is already a lifestyle for me. And I’m pretty happy with it. I don’t really need to add another walk—her walk—to my life. I’m not trying to make excuses, but walking at her time and place would really be kind of inconvenient for me.

Is she really concerned about me?

She says she’s concerned about my health, though she’s never asked if I’m healthy or not. She’s so excited about her message that she’s unable to really hear me or see me or get to know me. “You should walk—it’s so good to be out in the fresh air!” —she tells me this while I’ve stopped to chat with her on my way home after tennis (in the fresh air). She can see my rackets slung over my shoulder. But when she nods at them and asks, “You play tennis?” her interest feels insincere. “That’s good,” she says, and then she segues into the spiel I’ve heard before: “I like to walk—have you ever walked the trail over at the park? You should. It’s really good for you. It’s so good to be out in the fresh air!…” I listen for a while, and nod, and smile, and agree. But the next time I see her, I think about hiding. I don’t want to be cornered and preached to.

Enthusiasm and evangelism

Now, I can’t really fault my neighbor for being enthusiastic. I’m glad she’s seen the light and found the way. I’m glad her life has been transformed, and I wouldn’t want her to keep that good news to herself. Good news is for sharing!

And I do believe that on some level she does care about me. She wants what’s best for me, and that’s nice. I appreciate that.

Still, somewhere in my interactions with her is a lesson for Christians and churches and how we practice evangelism. Don’t ya think?



2 thoughts on “My neighbor is trying <br>to convert me”

  1. I think you are on to something! Any evangelism has to start with genuine concern for the person. It may be a cliché to say “Love is the key” but real love is the only way to reach someone for any reason. I am trying to do this in my own family. Sometimes it’s not easy to not say something you believe deeply but if you think of how that person may receive it, it becomes easier to be still and let love take its course.

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