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Being Kind for a Change

There is a man in a restaurant with his two children. His oldest child is a beautiful four year old girl. His youngest is a rambunctious one year old boy. The man is agitated because his son is restless and disinterested in his mac-n-cheese. He would much rather use the bowl as a hat and the utensils as drum sticks. His daughter is annoyed because she wants her dad’s attention. She has a very important story to share with him about her “dollies” and the royal ball they are about to attend. He, however, is trying to enjoy a nice meal out with his children, a rare occasion since the separation with his wife, but is beginning to regret his decision.

Most people in the restaurant do not notice the struggle until the little girls screams, “Daddy, you are not listening to me!”, and the little boy decides to use handfuls of mac-n-cheese to combat the “monster”, a nearby restaurant attendee. Food flies, voices are raised, and, in an effort to avoid attention, the father scolds the children to stop.
In a few minutes the tension subsides. There are some unwanted glares and an apology to the waitress but all is well. 10 minutes pass and an older man gets up to leave. On his way out he decides to visit with the family. He says to the young man, “Congratulations on having two wonderful children! They really are a blessing and remind me of my grandchildren.” The two men say a few words and the elderly man departs with a “God bless you”.
I am sharing this with you because this story represents a good example of simple evangelization. It is something that almost anyone can do. In evangelization today there are many occasions where elaborate theological discussion or apologetics is not needed. A thoughtful, kind, and loving word can be enough. It can change people.
This older man could go deeper if he felt called to do so. Let’s say their conversation went well and it became apparent that the younger man might like to meet again. The older man could invite the young man to coffee or lunch another time. This would start a real relationship between the two men, allowing them to build trust so that the Good News could be shared and received without animosity or judgment.
They would be able to navigate together the challenges that faith can sometimes bring to life. They could pray together and share life’s joys and sufferings in a relationship built on Jesus Christ. After a while, the young man himself, like the elderly man, may be inspired to walk with others in order to share what he received freely.
This is evangelization.

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