Have you shared your faith? Oh how that question always makes me squirm in church. I am probably the typical Caucasian Christian living in suburbia. My life is not full of opportunity for incredible missionary exploits, and the thought of evangelizing someone next to me on the airplane makes me sweat a little.
The age of tolerance
Am I just too shy, too scared, too awkward? No, this seems to be a common dilemma in the present society. In an age of political correctness, the message of the Gospel is offensive. How dare we tell people they are broken! To share your faith goes against an expectation to respect others’ choices. While debate on other religions and issues is acceptable, Christianity seems to trigger almost instantly a negative response.
Yet the call of the Great Commission still stands. How do we carry this out without being that stereotype much of our society holds of Christians?
“And the greatest of these is love…”
I turn to 1 Corinthians 13 today to set the framework for us. “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.”
The greatest witness of faith begins with love. A life without prejudice, filled with kindness and understanding is far more likely to be heard than the loudness of your arguments- no matter how scriptural or logical you feel they are.
People are curious when they see a life filled with genuine, unconditional love. That is rare in these days of extremism. Be kind. Your kindness often is the starting point of conversations for others, rather than going after places of division.
Pray for the open door.
Perhaps why I tend to think of evangelism so negatively is my experience has been to look at sin and hit people with whatever illustration of the salvation model. I remember rehearsing the “bridge” model to explain salvation– the chasm between God and man because of our sin, and we need Jesus to bridge the gap.
Yet the thing any of these evangelism models tend to miss is the very first step of even having relationship with whomever you are speaking. Perhaps if my ears were more attuned in the relationships I do have to listen for the need, the aches, the pain in others’ lives, I would be able to share words of life. Meeting people as they are is far more effective to open that door than attempting to share randomly some mode of the gospel.
Jesus’ ministry on earth was full of meeting the people in pain and distress. Why should you not emulate the same? Pain and brokenness looks very different in our society now, but it does not change that core need that people are looking for healing, and our time and words of encouragement may be the beginning of this.
Pray for a heart to see these needs and for the open door to be and share the love of Jesus.
So long awkward!
While it may not drastically change to easy over night to share your faith, perhaps it takes some of the awkwardness and hesitation away when you take action because of the great love you yourself have received. At the end of the day, you and I are still great sinners, and we need the love and redemption of Jesus just as much as anyone else.
Psalms says “Restore to me the joy of Your salvation!” Is your heart still awed and overjoyed that you have been saved? Let your heart be swept over again by this amazing love and grace of Jesus. This changes everything.