Change is ubiquitous. As the old saying goes: “The only constant is change.”
Part of change often means making a decision to change. It is not untrue that many of us actually live in a place where we are precariously tethered between to possible choices in many areas of life whether it is a moral decision, a lifestyle change, a health concern, or a spiritual matter. We may be grounded on some but the trepid balance continues as we decide which direction we are going to land.
Most often a decision is difficult to make when both options have both significant positive and significant negative outcomes. On the surface it may be a great decision for someone to give up smoking, for example, but if you are the one making the decision you realize that you are also giving up a stress reliever, a social connection, and a comforting habit.
Jesus was aware of the enormity that came with the decision to follow him. He repeatedly challenged people to give up position, money, influence, and relationships even with parents and spouses to become his disciples. Too often people must lose too much for them to be eager to make a decision about their faith.
Never assume you understand the cost of making a faith decision.
Enter into conversation. Ask about what may be preventing them from making a change. What may be benefits to staying the same? What may be consequences to making a “positive” change? You may know a lot about faith, the Bible, and spirituality, but that does not mean you are an expert in the life of the person sitting across from you. The beauty of a life in Christ can make it difficult to remember our own cost for that decision. In conversation we can also tap into what we have had to give up to follow Christ and thus develop compassion for those we care about who are taking those steps, perhaps for the first time.
The difference you can make is if the person believes that a faith decision is a right one, you will be there to support that decision with more compassion and empathy because you know the cost.