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My friend is a Mormon and doesn’t like to see a cross, I want to invite him to church but we have a cross. What do I do?

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My friend is a Mormon. He told me once that he doesn’t like to see a cross, because it reminds him of Jesus suffering and dying. I want to invite him to church, but since our sanctuary has a small wooden cross that our old pastor built for a sermon, it might make him not want to come again. Do you know of anything I could tell him?—JJ, theFlow


Shayna Answers:

Dear JJ,
 
If you are feeling impressed to invite your friend to church, do it. Remember that God says in Isaiah 55:9: “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways.” And when we are convicted to do something, God promises in Isaiah 51:16: “I have put My words in your mouth”—He’ll help you say the right thing.
 
Since the cross in your church’s sanctuary might make your friend feel uncomfortable, talk to him about it. In the same way that he explained to you what the cross means to him, explain to him what the cross means to you.
You might say something such as, “I agree that the cross represents Jesus’ death and suffering, but I’m also really grateful whenever I see it. It reminds me that I have salvation no matter how badly I mess up.”
 
It might also be worth it for you to review your own thoughts about the cross and what the resurrection means to you. Especially if your friend doesn’t share your viewpoint about salvation, he might have some questions for you. First Peter 3:15 reminds us to “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you.” 
 
You don’t have to be scared about what your friend may ask you, and it’s unlikely that your conversation will get confrontational. However, it’s important for you to be able to demonstrate that you understand what you believe. And, you need to be able to provide biblical evidence for your beliefs if he asks for it.
Since icons and crosses are not an integral part of the Adventist faith, you should also mention why the cross is in the sanctuary—“My pastor built it for this great sermon he gave about . . .” Your friend may feel comfortable if he knows that the physical cross is not the emphasis of anything that will be done in the worship service.
 
Finally, if your friend chooses to come to church with you, just relax! Don’t focus on the cross or worry about what he might think. After all, it’s the Holy Spirit who convicts people’s hearts. So, if the Holy Spirit is working on your friend, a cross will not take away his interest. It’s possible that your friend won’t mind or even care about the cross being in your church’s sanctuary.
 
Pray for your friend’s heart and for guidance about what you should say to him. Then talk to him before you worry about his rejection. His reaction just may surprise you.


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