Dear Healed by Wounds,
I’ve been getting frustrated lately by people who say to me “Hey, whatever helps you sleep at night!” when I share my Christian beliefs with them. It’s very condescending for them to say that to me when I’m simply telling them about Jesus. When this happens, I feel shot down and the conversation is pretty much over. How should I be handling this?
Dear Basically Blessed,
I’ll try to keep this reply short, sweet and coherent. I’m partially sleep-deprived right now as our new daughter is only a week old. Hence the concern about coherency. I’m glad you asked this question because this is one of those situations where there are two good replies—the logically correct answer and the true friendly answer.
You would be one hundred percent logically correct to reply in kind to the people who say that to you. I mean that you can ask people what they believe in (or don’t believe in). Then—after they share their worldview—you could say “Hey, whatever helps you sleep at night!” See what I mean? But this kind of answer is what I call a non-starter.
It is a non-starter because you have simply thrown the same insult back at them by pointing out their hypocrisy. Yes, you would be “right” to do so, but you certainly wouldn’t be making many friends that way. And again, the conversation would likely be over with hurt feelings on both sides.
When people say that to you, they are mocking you by implying that your faith in Christ is not fact-based. They think you are clinging on to a fairy tale that might help you sleep at night but not offer any real-world benefits. You could point out that it is quite the opposite. Your faith offers real-world benefits but actually causes you to lose sleep.
Here are some things I would tell people who said to me, “Hey, whatever helps you sleep at night!”
I’m not sleeping well because I worry that…
- I’m not doing enough for God’s kingdom
- I’m not loving the Lord my God with all my heart, mind, soul and strength
- I’m not loving my neighbor as myself
- I’m not solid in my Christian doctrinal theology
- I’m not sharing the truth in love
Consider Ecclesiastes 5:12 (ESV) from the word of God:
“Sweet is the sleep of a laborer, whether he eats little or much, but the full stomach of the rich will not let him sleep.”
This means that we should be doing our best work for God’s kingdom, giving him the firstfruits of everything we have. If we do that, we can take heart as Christians that if we are doing our best to honor Christ in all that we think, say and do—we will at least have sweet eternal rest if not also sleep better at night in this brief and broken world.
I’d rather tell people the truth that my faith in Christ doesn’t help me sleep at night but rather keeps me sleep-deprived—and not in the new baby kind of way.
Until next time, I am, and always will be, Healed by Wounds.