The Khmer Rouge were Communists in Cambodia. During the 60’s and 70’s, they killed over a million Cambodians. Killing Fields, a movie about their purge, documented their atrocities.
One of their devious methods when leading captives through the jungle was to link them together by threading a fishing line through the palm of each person. It effectively kept any of them from even trying to escape.
People sometimes squirm when I talk about this. I use it, however, because it illustrates a very important point. The devil does not just use the thick chains of coarse sins to bind people. He often uses the slender thread of sins like pride and worry. In fact, this is often his preferred method.
This holds true, especially with Mormons. Many Mormons are moral, hard-working, nice people. So much so, that it’s often difficult to imagine them as captives or victims.
But they are. The devil has effectively bound them with the slender but strong threads of things like placing the responsibility of God accepting them squarely on their shoulders. Or the thought that God’s forgiveness is only obtained after a long and painful process of self-improvement. Or that God shows them grace only after they did everything they could. Or that every blessing from God has to be obtained through obedience.
We often refer to our witnessing approach as building bridges not barriers. Over the years we have crystalized it into five simple pillars on which to build a bridge. During the next five weeks, I will write about each of these pillars.
The first pillar is “see Mormons as victims, not as enemies”. This is the first pillar because, before anything else, it is vitally important to have the right attitude. Not only does our attitude affect how we approach and relate to a person, it also affects how people respond. People can sense if you are coming to help them or defeat them. And if they sense you see them as the enemy, they will respond in kind. Instead of conversations, there will be arguments.
Last week a person who regularly witnesses to LDS missionaries shared with me a dramatic example of what a difference this makes. She related how she had built a good relationship with a sister missionary and had repeatedly shared Christ with her, Then the day came when she knew she had to tell the missionary of her concern and conviction that Mormonism was leading her to the outer darkness of hell. The missionary began crying and then said, “This is the most loving thing anybody has ever told me.”
Why would she say that? It’s because she knew the Christian woman was sincerely and deeply concerned about her. She knew she had not spoken in anger but in love.
See Mormons as victims, not as enemies. Don’t overlook the strong threads the devil uses to hold them hostage. Then, lovingly, speak the truth to them.
By the way, we did a witnessing tip on this topic. To view it, click here.