THE worst way to share the gospel is to share it without love. Have you ever said something rude to someone else "for the sake of the gospel?” Maybe you tried to have meaningful conversations with this person to no avail, so one day you snapped and told them they were going to hell or maybe that they were an evil sinner. While that’s the truth for every non-believer … maybe there’s a better way to approach it. Joshua Rogers, a writer for Boundless.org and an attorney, has written an article titled How to Rudely Proclaim the Gospel.
When Rogers was 21 years old, he worked at a medical clinic with other college students. He had tried unsuccessfully to convert one of his fellow co-workers, but he admits that he spent more time trying to proselytize Jeff than getting to know him. Rogers reveals,
“One day, in a burst of exasperation, I said, “Do you know what your problem is, Jeff?”
“You’re evil,” I said.
To my surprise (really!), Jeff rolled his eyes, turned around and walked off. We never had another substantive conversation.”
It is true that as believers we carry an offensive message. Scripture points to the heart of every human and says you’re evil and spiritually dead—undeserving of a Savior, but Scripture also says there is One who loves you as you are, a Savior who freely gave His life to redeem you.
Rogers points out that as Christians we often make the mistake of carrying our offensive message offensively—focusing on evil hearts and the need to repent rather than the love of Christ who makes repentance possible.
“There’s a way to go about speaking the truth — and it’s by doing so “in love” (Ephesians 4:15). People who are speaking truth in love will do a lot of listening and won’t be easily irritated by people who simply don’t agree. As James 1:19 says, “You must all be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to get angry.” But more importantly, Christians who are speaking the truth in love will actually love people, regardless of whether those people eventually give their lives to Jesus.”
Spreading the gospel is not a game to see how many tally marks you can get for converts; it’s about getting to know people at their core and showing them that Jesus loves them right where they are. How do we know this? …Because Jesus met us right where we were and He alone made us new.
“Sometimes people inaccurately quote Saint Francis of Assisi to say, “Preach the Gospel at all times — when necessary, use words.” This has taken on a life of its own and is often used to justify Christian cowardice when it comes to evangelism. So forget that quote, and just remember what Scripture actually tells us to do: In word and deed, preach the Gospel at all times, and do so in love.”
Yes preach the gospel with your actions and your life … but also preach the gospel with your mouth whenever you get the opportunity, but let us remember to speak truth with love. Let us remember the compassion Jesus had for sinners, the desire to meet them where they were and embrace them as dearly loved friends, and the words He spoke out of love even unto death.
To read Joshua Rogers’ full article please visit Boundless.org.
Sometimes we forget that God is the only one who can change hearts. Crosswalk Contributor Erica Giesow reminds us,
“God is the one that makes the big impact happen; our role is to follow Him and be faithful in the little.”
Our call is to spread the good news, to speak God’s truth out of love, and to lead by Christ’s example. Let’s practice this by really getting to know people, and let’s make sure they know we genuinely care about them and love them when we share Truth.
Stop Worrying about Making a Big Impact
Publication date: July 11, 2016
Liz Kanoy is an editor for Crosswalk.com.