I’m not sure that the subject of this post is clear, however, what is driving the question is that I have a lot of friends who have vastly different lifestyles than my own due to the fact that they are unChurched (I’m sure most of you can relate).
I work in a place with many Mormons and Evangelical Protestants. I noticed that they, more often than not, have no problem telling their friends that are unChurched that their lifestyle is inappropriate/incorrect/sinful or whateever. Specifically, when they have friends who are living with the person they are dating (concubinage). They will be quick to tell them that their lifestyle is wrong.
I have a slight problem with this. I do agree the lifestyle is objectively sinful. However, my problem is one two levels:
- I think evangelization is a very delicate thing. I think the faith is sometimes better “caught” than “taught”. This is why I believe St. Francis says to, “Preach the Gospel always and when necessary use words.” So when these people go around telling their friends constantly that they are doing something wrong/sinful – i think this does more to polarize non-Christians and does nothing for the sake of evangelization. I think one comes off more as trying to shove their morals/faith down anothers throat. One should focus on bringing someone to Christ either through example and if necessary words. If they are brought to Christ, their lifestyle will change to reflect their new faith.
Now, if the people living together were Catholics and went to Church each Sunday – we’d be in a better position to talk to them about their living situation because they are in the Church.
I do have a question though – how do we relate to friends who live together? My approach thus far is to be their friend like any of my other friends. I go out to dinner with them, hang out with them, even have dinners at their apartment when invited. But I would never sleep over their house if invited and tell them it is because their living situation does not permit me to. Another example is when we had friends who live together come to town and stay with us – we had them sleep in separate rooms. As far as evangelization, I often take this very slowly (the friends I’m referring to are still fairly new). Instead I try to be the best friend I can possibly be, and expect that as we get to know each other conservations would naturally arise. I especially don’t like to come off as shoving religion down anyone’s throat because I feel this drives people the other way and sometimes for good. My approach is rather to be their friend and as relationships grow of course the question of religion would arise.