In a world of political correctness where we are supposed to accept, and practically condone, every type of behavior imaginable unless we want to be called intolerant, bigots, haters, or whatever…, have you ever considered how often the world asks for our permission before presenting us with something we find offensive or how often they call themselves intolerant for looking down on Christianity? Pretty much never! So why are we afraid to share our faith in a way that demonstrates God’s work within us without worrying whether people will be offended or not?
Since The World Does Not Think Twice About Offending Us, Why Are We So Worried About Offending It
When talking to most Christians about why they do not share their relationship with God frequently, one of the most common answers I hear is:
“We are not supposed to talk about things like that in public”
Okay, I am sorry, but the world does not exactly ask for our permission before putting offensive things in front of us, so why are we so concerned about what people think when we openly talk about God’s work in our lives?
And hello, news flash, Jesus said the workers were few, and that the world was guaranteed to reject us for the most part, but he did not say to avoid sharing the gospel, he just said not to waste our time on people who do not want to hear it
The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves
If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you
Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces
I know the idea of talking about God with people can feel awkward or scary, but think about how unfair the world’s view on our faith is
For example, consider how the world pushes itself on us by saying that if you want to do drugs it is cool, if you want to sleep around it is fine, if you want to live selfishly for yourself go for it, but oh no, if someone stands up and says they are a Christian and talks about living differently, somebody call the riot police, everyone’s civil liberties are being threatened!
Without a doubt, even when we share our faith, not everyone who hears the gospel is going to do back flips and give their life to Jesus on the spot, and we should definitely not try to convert everyone we see, but let us put something in perspective: we are sharing the message of salvation and eternal life, and are supposedly walking intimately with the creator of the universe, why would we not want to share that?
I mean honestly, have you ever noticed all the completely pointless things non-believers, and a lot of Christians, talk about in a typical day?
So why is it that when we raise something that has the power to change their lives in amazing ways, they act like our “uncoolness” is going to rub off on them before they can run away
Oh, sorry, like we really wanted to hear about how drunk you got on the weekend, what trendy place you ate at, all the gossip about who is dating who, details about your new car, your weekend of meditation on the great mysteries of life, the spiritual experience you had at burning man, what you are wearing to the pride parade, the vacations you plan on taking, the dirty jokes, and all the other completely pointless things the world likes talking about–we certainly would not want to bore anyone with stories about God’s miraculous, healing work in our lives, how inconsiderate of us!
Some people will think we are crazy, disagree with us or get offended, but why hold back when it comes to sharing something as amazing as our relationship with God?
How Can We Expect People To Be Interested In Something We Are Not Enthusiastic About Ourselves
Aside from all the people who avoid sharing their faith by saying it is very personal and not something to be shared, or that religion is too difficult of a subject to bring up regardless of context, we should be eager to talk about our relationship with God for one simple reason: it is the pathway to spiritual growth, and eternal life
Well, actually, sadly, not many Christians are as excited about being a Christian as they should be, mainly because they are too tied up with seeking worldly happiness, and are not focusing on their relationship God to the point where it changes their lives in a way that actually makes them excited to talk about it
Take Jesus’ parable of the sower, he talked about how many Christians believe for a short period of time but fall away during difficult times (“My life is hard but God does nothing to help me so he must not exist, and if he does, he definitely does not love me”), while others believe but then fall away because they are too concerned with worldly happiness and it prevents them from maturing
This is the meaning of the parable: The seed is the word of God. Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved. Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away. The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature. But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop
It is no shock, but if someone decides God does not love them or does not exist, they are not exactly going to be the best advocates for Christianity, just like someone with an immature faith who continues living for the world after becoming a believer is not going to rush out and tell everyone how amazing knowing God is
Without us having a vibrant, passionate relationship with God, it is hard to expect others to be excited about something that does not seem to have any visible impact on our lives, that would be like someone telling us about an amazing new diet while they were clearly gaining weight
“I only went up eight pant sizes this month!”
Sounds great, where do I sign up!
A lot of Christians get uncomfortable when presented with the idea of sharing their faith, but the reality is, Jesus told us to demonstrate our relationship with God in more ways than just preaching the gospel, he told us to live our faith through good deeds, inspired by love, that are obvious to the people around us, not just throw some words around with good intentions
You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven
Even though we read this and say “Yes, it is so important to live that way!”, there is a world of difference between inspiration and productive action, as many Christians, even the ones who do good works and live righteously, do not always share their lives in a way that glorifies God to non-believers
Sure, many people are humble and would rather have their deeds go unnoticed to avoid any appearance of pride, but there is a tremendous value in sharing the things we do on behalf of God, and openly discuss how knowing God has impacted our lives in such a way
Think about it like this, when someone likes to go out and party all the time it is completely obvious, as that is generally the focal point of most of their conversations
They talk about who they hung out with, where they went, how much they drank, what they are doing tonight, tomorrow, and on the weekend–there is no doubt what their priorities in life are, and they are not afraid to be vocal about it
Or think about how a buddhist talks about their journey of self-discovery when they went to india for a summer, their weekend prayer retreat or their spiritually revelatory trip to anthropologie–they do so without fear of reprisal, and without hesitation
Which brings us to another point, why do Christians not exactly get the welcome wagon when they start talking?
The Word “Christianity” Does Not Often Inspire Positive Reactions
Everyone knows talking about religion can be an awkward subject as it often leads to uncomfortable, tense situations
I am serious, try it a few times, it is not always pleasant!
However, when it comes to discussing religion and spiritual beliefs, there are way more negative reactions about Christianity than anything else
I mean think about it, how often have we seen an argument start when someone brought up their new age beliefs, daily horoscope, experience at a fortune teller, meditation weekend, etc…, in comparison to how often people get upset when Christianity gets mentioned
Sadly, there is no comparison, as Christianity is the most volatile subject by far, and usually for one simple reason:
The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil
If we go around talking about a lifestyle that encourages a different standard of living, do we honestly expect the enemy to give two thumbs up and let that message spread without any resistance?
Of course not!
What is really awful, is even though God may be doing amazing things in our lives, when we start sharing, people usually get turned off as soon as they think we might turn the conversation into a sales pitch for Christianity
To be fair, most people associate Christianity with scandals, hypocritical behavior, unloving and judgmental attitudes, mindless zombies who do not think for themselves, over-zealous Bible thumpers who try to convert everyone and anything that moves, not to mention the vast amount of negative personal experiences people have had with Christianity while growing up in churches
All of these things make people go “Eww” when they hear about Christianity, and really, who can blame them
Seriously though, all personal feelings aside, how many of us would be interested in hearing about a religion that is known for such consistently awful behavior?
It is a tremendous victory for the enemy when they can turn people off of Christianity before they are exposed to it in a meaningful way, so we must guard every interaction we have with unbelievers, taking great care to reflect God’s righteousness, love, and wisdom in all areas of our lives–but that does not mean we should avoid our relationship with God
Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone
I know it seems hard to imagine, but what if Christianity actually had a good reputation because of the way Christians acted–just think how different people’s reactions would be when we shared our walk with God
To provide real life examples of this, when I first started sharing things about my walk with God with friends, strangers, co-workers, etc…, I spoke in a way that was factual, but not pushy, as I wanted to share how knowing God was changing my life when it came to anger management issues, alcohol abuse, unhealthy relationships, etc…, and I often just shared based on what we were already talking about in our conversation
This may sound obscure, but think about how many conversations we have with people where we could say things like:
“I went through that as well, and this is how God helped me”
The main goal with talking like this, is to let people understand how God is working in our lives, as we often face similar issues as the people around us, but we have a better source of strength, encouragement, and growth than anyone else–so why not boldly talk about it?
1 Peter 5:7
Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God
Sharing our positive Christian experiences, and living openly righteous lifestyles is so important, as unless people see the good parts about Christianity, how can we expect it to ever get a good reputation?
Good Stuff Nathan! quote: “Sharing our positive Christian experiences, and living openly righteous lifestyles is so important, as unless people see the good parts about Christianity, how can we expect it to ever get a good reputation?” (Colossians 4:5-6 “Be wise in
the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your
conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know
how to answer everyone”)
Much like kindling, being on fire for Christ does not have to start as a full blown blaze.
Often, the offense people have comes from, coming on to strong, it does not have to be the subject of Christ to put someone off. Being to strong in your approach only brings forth pretenses the person already has in their mind.( think of that knock on your door by a J. Witness and the ideas that come to your mind) Often we are evangelizing already, by the example of the way we live our lives as Christians and this is the first and most important way to spread our news. But our conversations should start as a mustard seed and as we nurture it along it will grow and eventually bring forth blossoms.
If we remember that often once the seed is planted and watered it takes time alone before it sprouts. If we act as gardeners for the lord and have patience in each seed we plant we will truly have a blessed garden full of the most glorious fruit! Keep it in your mind that the simplest way to follow this path is to live your life in the way set forth by the words of Jesus. Also remember if you become conflicted in your efforts, then look to your prayers for answers.
We offend the world as Christians because they are afraid. They are afraid of what they might find out about themselves, what they might have to give up if they have to change their own way of living, and most of all they are afraid to know the truth.
I have spoken to maney people about what faith means to them and all I get all the time is they are afraid they will find out that they are not able to do things their way and are not in control of their own lives and sometimes they feel threatened.
All we can do it be there for them, spread seeds, and do a lot of praying for them.