A Different Kind of Martyrdom

How I learned to stop talking and start listening.

A Different Kind of Martyrdom

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Martyrs go straight to heaven. I first heard this when I was about five and, after quickly thinking it over, I decided to ask God to let me die as a witness to the truth. It seemed to me the surest, fastest way to be with Jesus forever. Trekking through the jungle, sharing the good news with a lost tribe, being quickly put to death—it couldn’t be all that bad, right?

Thirteen years later, more realistic about martyrdom but still wanting to be with Jesus forever, I began my first semester at a large secular university. I knew it would be different from the Christian environment I had grown up in at home and in the Christian schools I had attended, but I felt equipped and ready to defend my beliefs to every student, teacher, and colleague I met.

However, after a year and a half of intellectual battles in the classroom, I was troubled. Though I was “winning” many debates, I was not seeing any transformation in the people I was debating. The more I defended my faith, the more I felt I was failing to communicate it. What was I doing wrong?

I decided to change my approach: I would stop talking and start listening. As I did, I…

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