Insights with Emily: Love, our strongest witness

Emily Salerno-Oswald
Scriptural Columnist

Conversion. There are times in life when we want so badly for another person to find God.

When you find God, it’s like you find a wellspring of treasure, from which everything good in the world comes. Once you’ve found the treasure, you observe other people wandering, like ghosts, searching for it in every way they know how, often settling for whatever the world presents to them as the “end” to their searching.

It can be so tempting to want to try to save people ourselves — to shield them from anything that might deter them from seeing the truth of who God is. Bearing the truth to others is not bad — in fact it is what we are called to do. However, there comes a point when only so much of the process of another person finding God involves us.

In most cases, you or I are meant to plant a seed by showing people the love of Christ that is in us. And sometimes, that’s it. The rest is up to the Holy Spirit.

We cannot forcibly convert people, and if we try to, we will most often actually end up pushing people away from us and from the faith. The intention of desiring for another person to know God is one of the noblest intentions out there, but trying to become that person’s savior is essentially upstaging God.

If you are the devout Christian you claim to be, let God do his work — even when it’s hard. Even when you don’t understand why things happen the way they do or why this person you love so much seems to be drifting away into a faithless existence.

The fact of the matter is that their salvation is not in your control. I am not promoting complacency, cynicism or a lack of evangelism by saying this. Rather, I am saying that we should see ourselves as vessels, as instruments for God to work through — rather than as saviors of souls.

Jesus saves souls — not us. However, he many times will work through us to do so, provided that we yield to his guidance.

So, if we ourselves can’t save people, what can we do?

As stated by St. Thérèse of Lisieux, “My vocation is love. In the heart of the Church, my mother, I will be love, and then I will be all things.”

This is our role — to be love to others and to trust that God will work through our acts of love to bring others to him.

We do not need to orchestrate everything; he will. We just need to trust God, love God and others and then act in love toward those we encounter. Our love speaks louder than any verbal proclamation of faith we could make, because God is the root of our faith and God is love.

Surrender the souls and lives of those you want to “save” to God and pray for the confidence to believe that he will save them.

“He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit.” — Titus 3:5

“Let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him.” — Hebrews 10:22

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