Don’t slam the phone down like everyone else does. Take a minute. You’re annoyed, but the person on the other end of the line is someone who Jesus died for.
Last week I was the target of a scam. My wife and I own some apartments that we rent out, and I found out that someone was posing as a leasing agent for an available apartment, asking for a non-refundable application fee and pretending to schedule apartment showings.
When I found out, I called and texted the scammer, and we started a long text message conversation.
I wanted to learn how the scam works, so I posed as someone who was interested in an apartment. Sure enough, he asked me for a $50 fee to fill out an application before I could schedule a showing of the apartment.
After I had the information I needed, I told him that I was actually the owner of the apartment and asked him to stop this deceptive, illegal scam.
Then, I told him the gospel.
I told him he could relieve his conscience by doing the right thing. By turning away from this scam and doing the right thing.
I told him about God’s forgiveness available in Christ, and I told him that I forgive him. I told him I would pray for him.
He stopped replying to me as soon as I opened up about who I was, so this wasn’t really a conversation anymore, but I think he probably still read the subsequent text messages.
Two lessons here:
Scammers and telemarketers are real people whom God loves
Most people slam the phone down when a telemarketer or a scammer calls them. But do you realize that God loves scammers?
Don’t slam the phone down on someone whom Jesus gave His blood for.
You don’t know this person’s story. Maybe he was desperate for work to support his family. Maybe he got roped into that job with false promises of riches. You know, he probably feels guilty about it already.
I usually start by sincerely saying to them, “Man, your job is so hard! You have a really tough job. How are you feeling today?”
Or sometimes I tell scammers who call to try to sell me medication: “Here’s what you should do: just get up, go to your boss right now and tell him, ‘I can’t do this anymore.’ You can do it!”
Have you ever prayed and asked God to give you opportunities to share the gospel with someone? Try sharing with a telemarketer.
Don’t be snarky. Don’t be rude. Just say, “I really don’t need what you’re offering, but while we’re on the phone, I want to tell you about something really important to me.” (Does this phrase ring any bells? Sounds a little like Acts 3, or is that just me?)
We have to practice sharing our faith
Getting a call from a telemarketer is a great chance to practice sharing your faith.
I want to be careful here because I don’t want it to sound like you should practice with a telemarketer because they don’t matter. It’s not that. At all. It’s not a throwaway conversation. (See above!)
But a conversation with a telemarketer is a low-pressure conversation.
It’s not your friend whom you love and are nervous to share your faith with. It’s not your family member, who is resistant to the gospel. It’s not your coworker, who you see every single weekday. It’s someone you will interact with exactly one time and who probably lives far away.
For some reason, that makes it a lot easier to share your faith.
So try it! Just launch into it.
But this is important: be sincere.
You’re probably going to be terrible at telling the gospel the first few times. That’s perfectly fine and normal. Because you haven’t practiced very much! You have to practice these conversations! YOU. NEED. PRACTICE.
Let me know how it goes!