”You should not be the one that actively goes out and gets people but it should be that they should be drawn to you 1”.
I read this the other day at Mark Hunter’s blog Awakening From Atheism. It made me think, again, about the role of the Christian in evangelism. There are very different ways of looking at this and I’m convinced that most people are either wrong or just don’t get it. Of course, I’m open to the idea that I could be wrong, but you’re going to have a tough time convincing me. Not because I’m stubborn–I can be–but because I’ve thought about this long and hard.
The biggest problem I have with evangelism is, as Mark spelled out better than I ever have, is that it doesn’t draw people in. I understand we are to take the message of Christ to the world, but we’ve done it in a way where we’re chasing people. People don’t even want to hear what we have to say; they’re running. This is wrong and I think a lot of Christian’s are too stubborn to realize this because it’s been done this way for so long.
The argument I hear too much is that while evangelizing, we’re going to make enemies. “All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved” (Matt 10:22 NIV). If you’re not making enemies, I’ve been told, then you’re not doing your job. I think this is a gross misinterpretation of what Jesus was taking about. What He was saying is that we won’t be hated for our words, but His Words. We will be hated because of Him. If we are hated because of us, that’s on us. If the world hates you because they think you’re a jack ass (even when you’re not), that’s on you, not Jesus. Sometimes we make a better billboard if we keep our mouths shut, and lead by example.
There’s a reason why Christian’s are looked at with a “holier than thou” attitude, or like they think they’re better than others. They have that stereotype because they act like it. They put everything down, and separate themselves from the rest of humanity. It gives the impression that you are holier than everyone else, and that misrepresentation is on you, not Jesus. Jesus hung with the sinners. It’s no wonder the media responds with glee when a Christian falls.
I am no different than any other human being on this planet. I have suffered from lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, acedia, wrath, envy, pride and vainglory, in varying degrees throughout my life. I have made, make, and will make mistakes. To echo Paul, I do the things I don’t want to do, and don’t do the things I want to do. I don’t want, need, or deserve a pedestal. If, and when I fall, I don’t want anyone looking at me like, “Some Christian you are!” Being Christian doesn’t make me better than anyone else, therefore, I won’t separate myself from non-Christians the way many others do. The only impact one can make in the life of another human being is to be there, and when you’re on the outside looking in, you’re not going to make an impact. I have set my goal simple. Make an impact on the people around me: friends, family, and acquaintances.
Yes, there are going to be people who dislike what I have to say because the Words of Jesus can be divisive no matter how you approach someone. But when someone asks, and I provide the answer in a way that shows I’m not better than them, and respectful, but still get the dislike, I want it to be because of Jesus and not me. Christianity is not about me, and I don’t want to make it about me. I don’t want to give Christianity a bad name.
I don’t want to chase people, and I don’t want them to run. Do you?
Mark Hunter, “Personal testimony and how it can peak the curiosity of others, a real life example.,” Awakening From Atheism. 5 Apr 2012. ↩