It was written by a man named Matthew Parris, a journalist from the UK, who has made very clear that he is an atheist. However, after returning from a trip to Malawi, the country he was in as a kid, he made some really amazing assertions. The article is entitled “As an atheist, I truly believe Africa needs God.” You see, after watching many different charitable organizations come and attempt to help the people there, he came to the conclusion that the best help the people in this country were receiving was coming from Christians.
“In Africa Christianity changes people’s hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good.”
Keep in mind that he calls himself an atheist. Yet, he recognizes that there is something different about what followers of Jesus are doing. It is far more than just throwing food at people or offering financial help; it is a transformation. It is something that changes the heart and, as he says, it is a good thing. He acknowledges this change in the daily lives of the missionaries he had known over the years.
“The Christians were always different. Far from having cowed or confined its converts, their faith appeared to have liberated and relaxed them.”
He goes on to explain even further about how as he has interacted with Christians, he has noticed a difference in how they talk, relate and what they do. Even in their work there was an undertone of Christian life.
“Their work was secular, but surely affected by what they were. What they were was, in turn, influenced by a conception of man’s place in the Universe that Christianity had taught.”
The evidence is overwhelming for him, which even appears to annoy him some. It is as if he wishes this evidence wasn’t there, but it is. I wonder how a world of supposed tolerance makes sense of all of the good going on because people are motivated to go love people in the name of Jesus Christ. It would appear to me that so often the evidence is there, but people are ignoring it or distorting it because they just don’t want to believe it. The human heart is inherently sinful, which naturally doesn’t appreciate being exposed.
This is exactly what happened back in book of Acts when the disciples went out and ministered in Jesus’ name. There was clear evidence of His work, but so many of the people just didn’t like it.
In Acts 4, for example, right after Peter and John reached out to a beggar and he was healed, they were brought to give an account of the event to the court. Obviously, if a man was healed and walking again, people were going to notice. The community leaders were “greatly disturbed” because they were proclaiming Christ. But, Peter was not going to deny Jesus again.
“It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed.” – Acts 4:10
There was no denying what had happened and now they told them what it was all about. It goes on to say they were astonished and had nothing to say. Their command was for them( Peter and John) to stop speaking in this name. Of course, Peter told them that they cannot help but speak about what they had seen or heard.
And so it is with those of us who follow Jesus. We cannot help but talk about Him. This bothers people, but as we see from the Matthew Parris, it also confounds people. We need to be all about Jesus and letting His love be known to those around us. Even people who don’t believe in God are making claims about the changes that are taking place in lives because of Christ!
The evidence of God’s work is all around us. Lives are being changed. People all over the world are turning to Jesus Christ as the answer. Why? Because people who truly follow Jesus are loving people and living in stark contrast to the selfish pursuits of a secular society. People do notice these things. The evidence speaks for itself.
“In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16