I have recently been wrestling with my thinking regarding how we Christians reach out to others. So often in the church, we operate from the platform “hell is hot so you better love Jesus.” I’m not convinced that telling people that hell is hot, eternity is a long time, or explaining in great detail the eternal torment we will face if we don’t accept and love Jesus is the best form of evangelism. Perhaps, we can take a different approach with those that consider themselves non-Christian. As I’ve said before, I’m not sure many people are won over when confronted with aggressive speeches, judgement, and unsolicited advice about how they need to change.
In fact, I’m not convinced that it is our place to pick them apart and inspect the fruit of their life. We are not the judge nor the Holy Spirit. I’m not sure it is our job to even express powerful and convicting truth regarding their sin. It might be. We might even have opportunities to do that provided we have a relationship with them and God opens that door. I think in most circumstances that is not our job.
Now before you immediately click away and assume I’ve gone off the rails, let me suggest what might be a better solution. Again, I could be wrong on this but I don't think I am. I really think there is a better approach as it relates to trying to reach those in our family, in our neighborhoods, at our work places, and in our schools that don’t know Jesus. I think it begins and ends with love and grace. Our doctrine of grace is such a beautiful and wonderful part of our beliefs. However, I think we are scared to perpetuate it too much lest we give the idea that a person can ask for forgiveness and live however they want.
So... it’s okay to tell people about God’s amazing grace to save us, grace to forgive us while we were still sinners, and that God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son. But wait... don’t say it too much... don’t go too far with grace because we don’t want people to get the wrong idea.
Really? Are you kidding me?
Im not saying we ignore sin or that grace covers all sin and as a result you can go live however you want. Here is the deal, neither you nor I can judge the human heart. I cant see into a person's heart. I don’t know what God knows and I can’t see what God sees. It’s not my job to do so either.
For some reason, perhaps it is God’s calling for some people I don’t know, we really like to play prophet. It is like some of us get great enjoyment from telling people about God’s wrath and anger towards our sin. I’m not sure that should be our greatest concern. If we are going to be a prophet be one like Nehemiah who wasn’t really like a prophet at all. He went to work to serve the people. He rebuilt the wall so that the people wouldn’t be in disgrace anymore. He served them and convinced others around him passionately to join the cause.
Be a prophet like Zephaniah who even though he instructed the people of Israel to turn from their sin he finished by expressing God’s deep love for his people. It was a shameless love for those who had completely messed up. “For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”” Zephaniah 3:17 NLT
May we be like Jesus who sat down with the wrong kind of people, ate a meal, enjoyed life together, and loved them in spite of who they were and the mistakes they had made. The only people Jesus ever showed judgement towards was the religious people of the day. Let us not become like the Pharisees but always show the grace and mercy of Jesus towards others.
Let us not fear that grace is a ticket to live however we want, but the beauty of our creator who wants nothing more than to have a relationship with his sons and daughters. Let’s express the truth of his grace, his love, his forgiveness, and let’s passionately inspire others that living with Jesus is the best way to live. Then get out of the way and let the Holy Spirit do his work in their life.