Conversion, the reorientation of a life round the good news of the risen Jesus, is a mystery to me.
More so now than it used to be.
How do we explain how someone’s life can be changed in such a radical way?
I say we explain it by calling conversion what it is: the biggest miracle of all.
We can play a role in other people’s conversion. We can love, serve, and encourage them. We can ask them probing questions and give our best answers to theirs. We can challenge assumptions, prejudices, and behaviors. We can pray for them. We can do all of this and so much more.
But the one thing we can’t do is convert them.
Only God can do that.
I tried to convert someone once.
I took responsibility for a miracle only God can perform.
I made a mess of it.
He was a friend who was easily manipulated. He was so transparent in his desire to be accepted. I pushed his buttons, applied just the right amount of pressure, and made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.
After his baptism, he got lots of slaps on the back.
So did I.
His conversion was just as much about making me feel good as it was about saving his soul.
I was just as needy as he was.
His conversion lasted about as long as our friendship.
I converted him, not God, and it was not good.
That’s one reason I got out of the conversion business.
God does a much better job of converting people to Jesus than I do.