In our attempts to convert the world, we forget sometimes that WE don’t convert anybody. It is the work of the Holy Spirit that accomplishes any conversion of the heart to Christ. We forget sometimes that our interactions with nonbelievers, or believers who doubt, are not about proving that God is real. He can prove Himself to others. Our interactions are about proving that WE believe in Him, and that WE are willing to risk everything to follow Jesus Christ.
The Lord said, "All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him." Then turning to the disciples he said privately, "Blessed are the eyes which see what you see! For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it." – Luke 10.22-24
“No one knows,” are words of reminder to us in the mission field. “Chooses to reveal,” are words of reminder to us in the mission field. If we think somehow we can debate belief into someone, or prove through logic that God loves them, we will fail every time, not because we have insincere motives, but because God reveals Himself to those He wishes.
The Holy Scriptures were given to us, by God and the Church, not to convince unbelievers but to shape our lives to conform to what we say we believe. Do we believe? Then the Holy Scriptures show us how to love. One of my favorite passages that reveals this point is found in Luke 24.13-35 (you can read it below) “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” These men were knowledgeable in the Scriptures. They had seen Him. They had listened to Him preach. Still, when He was in front of them at that moment they were blind to Him, until He revealed Himself to them. Take a moment and read the story.
Now behold, two of them were traveling that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was seven miles from Jerusalem. And they talked together of all these things which had happened. So it was, while they conversed and reasoned, that Jesus Himself drew near and went with them. But their eyes were restrained, so that they did not know Him. And He said to them, “What kind of conversation is this that you have with one another as you walk and are sad?” Then the one whose name was Cleopas answered and said to Him, “Are You the only stranger in Jerusalem, and have You not known the things which happened there in these days?” And He said to them, “What things?” So they said to Him, “The things concerning Jesus of Nazareth, who was a Prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people, and how the chief priests and our rulers delivered Him to be condemned to death, and crucified Him. But we were hoping that it was He who was going to redeem Israel. Indeed, besides all this, today is the third day since these things happened. Yes, and certain women of our company, who arrived at the tomb early, astonished us. When they did not find His body, they came saying that they had also seen a vision of angels who said He was alive. And certain of those who were with us went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said; but Him they did not see.” Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. The Disciples’ Eyes Opened Then they drew near to the village where they were going, and He indicated that He would have gone farther. But they constrained Him, saying, “Abide with us, for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.” And He went in to stay with them. Now it came to pass, as He sat at the table with them, that He took bread, blessed and broke it, and gave it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they knew Him; and He vanished from their sight. And they said to one another, “Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” So they rose up that very hour and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven and those who were with them gathered together, saying, “The Lord is risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” And they told about the things that had happened on the road, and how He was known to them in the breaking of bread. – Luke 24.13-35
If you are accustomed to using the Holy Scriptures to PROVE that God exists, then it is time you stopped trying to prove what you can never prove. Instead, live a life that proves YOU believe. If someone notices your life, especially in our growing anti-Christian environment, they will ask you about your life. Then, by all means share you experience of how Christ has given you hope. As part of the conversation, then in loving dialogue, you can share the Scriptures with them as explanation of your faith, rather than a proof text for their faith.
Ultimately God reveals Himself to us in the Holy Eucharist. Focus on that reality in your personal life, and others will notice God. Forget about Holy Communion, and others will notice you don’t act as you say you believe, and they will notice your hypocrisy rather than God.