I think one of the most awkward social exchanges is when you are talking with someone and half way through your conversation they offer you a mint. Whenever that happens to me, my first thought is “Great! What did I just eat?” or, “Oh no! Do I have awful breath and not know it?!?!” Then I begin to wonder who else I have offended that day with my “Breath of Death.” It's not that I don't like or believe in mints, I actually love them, I just don't like that feeling of embarrassment or insecurity that comes with being asked that question! I usually try to make sure I have gum or mints of some kind with me just so I am not on the receiving end of this kind of situation. Come on, you know we've all been there!
I recently heard someone talk about this very experience and they suggested that instead of offering someone a mint, that you take one for yourself and then leave the box open on the table. Sounds easy enough, but how would that make a difference? Well, the speaker suggests that when you offer someone a mint you may put them on the defensive. You might mean well, and you are most likely just being kind and not wanting to look selfish, but the other person may now feel a bit embarrassed, self conscious or even offended. However, if you just leave the mints open on the table without saying anything the other party will usually ask if they can have one or just take one on their own. You see, there is no need to force them to take one or shove it down their throat so that the world will smell a little more pleasant for a few minutes. Just making the mints available is all you need to do! Just because you like mints doesn't mean the rest of the world has to like them as well. Sure, life would smell a whole lot prettier if everyone always had mints with them, but everyone may not be as olfactory aware as you!
Now, this may be a stretch, but let's apply this to our relationship with Christ. In the New Testament Jesus tells us that the most important thing to Him is to Love God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to Love Others. No where in the the Bible does He say to go force others to think the way you do or shove your beliefs down someones throat. If we as Christ Followers want to be more like Christ, we should follow His example of living out what we believe. If someone ask you what you believe, by all means, tell them and be passionate about it, but let the way you live your life day to day, speak loudly of God's love way before your words do. People are more receptive to listen when they don't feel like they are being judged, and when you ask someone if they want a mint (i.e. Christ) instead of just making it available to them, they may feel like you are judging them. The New Testament is full of stories where Jesus showed love instead of judgment. He made His love available instead of forcing it on people. As Christ Followers, I think that is a good example to follow!
So, give it a try! Set the mints out on the table and just see what happens next! Be sure to leave a comment and let me know how it goes! Thanks for hanging out with me today!