Two months ago, the drama team in my church staged a play about evangelism and the common mistakes we make. During the play, it felt like they were throwing shots at me. I was guilty for some of them, since then I’ve had this burden to put this issue up. As Christians often times while sharing the good news we cross the line, we seem to go far but the receiving end doesn’t respond to our message as expected on the off chance, we might be committing this blunder!
Quick question: At what Point do we Cross the Line?
Three years ago, in class; a colleague during a leadership class insulted the speaker to the extent I got mad. I felt so much rage because of the blasphemous words he uttered in fact he made mockery of all the speaker’s utterance. After the lecture, there was a burst up between us; another colleague Salau intervened and calmly spelt out his wrongdoings, Arrogant me said: “Leave him, when you’re pulling someone from the gate of hell and he’s hell bent on dying, there’s no crime”. The truth is I thought I was supporting God, Can a man fight for God? Can you bring people to Christ with arrogance and death message?
A resounding No!
As a Christian we should always remember “two wrongs can never make a right”.
A year later, I went for Global outreach day, so unknowingly we entered into a den of gamblers. As curious and young evangelists we shared the gospel and it looked like they were listening at first. After our scriptural declarations, they began the greatest height of blasphemous gestures and utterances I’ve ever experienced. Our coordinators simply said with a huge smile “Give your lives to Christ” then they asked us to leave.
Their response was Christlike, they knew where the line was and never crossed it… When do we Christians cross the line? I decided to write this after I read an update on social media, a scary message it entailed mostly “you’ll die, you’re going to hell.” Is this the way, we want to share God’s love and hospitality?
Romans 8:1 from another perspective;
“There is no now condemnation for those who are in Christ” its not talking just about you, it means as we have become a “Christ branch” a body; we can not be found condemning people no matter their stand. The gospel is good news not a death message on the off chance you do not seem to agree with me, its a love message of how Jesus died in place of you and i for the sake of love.
“Greater love hath no man than these that a man should lay down his life for His friend.”
1 John 4:8
“Whosoever does not love, does not know God because God is love.”
1 John 4:18-19
There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 19 We love because he first loved us.
Here’s a lot of us get mixed up. I think that inadvertantly a lot of people believe in freedom of religion but also believe that their religion should have precedent over the others. And it’s logical, because we all believe we’re right. Otherwise, why would we believe what we believe?
But I don’t think this is a healthy mindset. Freedom of religion means just that freedom to believe whatever you deem fit. And you know what? It’s a two way thing. You deserve freedom to express your beliefs, but if you want that freedom respected, you’ve also got to reciprocate respect toward others’ beliefs.
But here’s the thing: respecting someone else’s beliefs doesn’t mean that you’re being ashamed of yours.
Rather, it means you’re implying “Hey, we believe different things. I respect your choice of those beliefs, and because I respect your rights, your opinion, I’m not going to force you to accept my beliefs without accepting yours as well.”
I think this is particularly hard for we Christians because it’s so pushed to “share your faith share your faith SHARE YOUR FAITH!!!!!” Which I do believe is REALY important, Jesus himself commanded that we do. But if you look at Jesus’ life, a lot of what he did was respecting people’s dignity he touched an “unclean” woman, he healed lepers and treated them like family. Oftentimes when we’re so focused on forcing our beliefs on others even if it’s for the best of intentions, we forget to treat them with dignity in the process. Furhermore It is not respectful to use your friends’ heartbreak as a chance to try to convert them by forcing the Jesus talk on them when they’re most vulnerable. It would be the equivalent of someone coming up to you when you were going through hell and saying “Ha, what did I tell you? God doesn’t exist.
2. We Don’t Become All Things to All People
Now, in case you thought the above point was a “get out of jail free card” that let you never have to evangelize again, enter point two.
Sunday school often does a great job of teaching us “ how to evangelize .” And it becomes a character we do. We become spiritually alert (we didn’t have a “good” day, we had a “blessed”day), and make sure to always have a serene look on our faces. It sounds ridiculous, I know, but I see it almost every day. I think we can often get it into our heads that there is a right way to go about preaching the gospel. And that way is to present yourself as a perfect little stereotypical Christian.
But that’s not what the Bible says.
Instead, we’re supposed to be fluid and try to relate with the people around us. Please, with due respect!!! It doesn’t help anyone if you come in there with a “don’t you want to be just like me?” attitude.
Just to be clear : the end goal is for them not to have a life that looks like yours. The end goal is to help them allow Jesus into their lives so that Jesus can work with them where they’re at and take them to their own destination.
A lot of people shy away from church because they don’t fit in with the church crowd. That is one of the saddest things I have ever heard. But I think it’s because we’ve made ourselves so separate from the culture of the people around us, we’re too afraid of being seen as anything other than the most holy, or the most “spiritual” that we’ve forgotten how to simply relate to people.
That is so completely different than the first apostles’ experience. I’m just going to paste here what Paul said in
1 Corinthians 9:
Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible.
To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.
I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I might save some.
Jesus didn’t only come for one type of people (just Christians). He came for everyone. So why are we making it seem like Christianity is only for people who fit a “church crowd” stereotype?
3. We Use Christianity to Save Face
Often we can get so caught up in presenting Christianity well that we’re scared to be vulnerable. Because if we’re trying to show people why Jesus is the way, they won’t be interested unless our lives are perfect, right?
Wrong. And not only wrong, but actually pretty prideful, too.
Often we use our religion so that we don’t have to become vulnerable with people. We talk about the blessings that God has given us; we stay on the “safe” topics about how wonderful a relationship with Jesus is. So you talk for a while, but never actually say anything. You’ve only presented half of the message.
If we’re scared that nothing but the “perfect” life will attracf someone to God, we’re actually believing that “the gospel is more about me and my life than it is about God and what he did.” its the bitter truth!
But think about it the gospel is true and it is powerful despite our weaknesses. In fact, even more than that, it is made powerful through our weaknesses! It is absolutely absurd to be scared that truth will scare people away from God. And you know why? Because God is truth.
God isn’t interested in tricking people into believing in him, like some bad telecommunications service. He wants people to engage in a deep, intimate/active relationship with Him that isn’t possible if it’s shallow or one sided. God isn’t only God in the good. He is also God in the bad. So let’s give Him and His gospel some credit, truth and hospitality are some of the most powerful tools we have, because it shows how God can work even when we mess everything up.
Inspired by Dr Ravi Zacharias’ Bridging two Worlds.
Please kindly drop your views in the comment box…
Have a blessed Christmas in advance!