I posted this on Facebook today:
What's our goal when sharing the Gospel? Is it to introduce someone to Jesus or is it to show our Biblical prowess? Sharing the Gospel is not a "mic drop" moment. It's a precious invitation that we extend to that individual to meet our Savior...the Savior who showed us grace and mercy when we didn't deserve it.
I'm concerned that we are taking the commission to "Go!" all wrong. Jesus' parting words on this earth as He ascended into Heaven to sit at the Father's Right Hand were for us to be the Good News tellers. We are to share about Jesus and how He saved us from our sins. We are to express God's unmerited favor for us and Jesus' unparalleled sacrifice for us in His death on the cross. We are to be the conduit for an eternal, life-saving, soul-saving introduction to the One True God.
But, sadly, I see so much of the opposite. I see pride that lends itself to "telling it like it is" and throat punching people with the Word of God as we laugh about how the other person didn't stand a chance against our Biblical knowledge. That reeks of pride and condescension. Jesus never condescended to the lost. Instead, He lowered Himself to wash their feet, look them in the eye, tell them He didn't condemn them, and offer them an opportunity to change.
Our job here is never to codemn, shame, degrade, or demean. Our job is never to "put someone in their place." Our job is to humbly extend an invitation to our precious Savior, just as He extended one to us. Our job is to recognize and step into every opportunity the Lord puts in front of us to stand in the gap for someone who is lost. We share Jesus, we demonstrate with our lives that we mean what we say, and then we pray as the Holy Spirit does His work.
I think sometimes we believe that if we don't identify, correct and condemn every aspect of someone's incorrect doctrine, beliefs, or theology then they will never see the error of their ways. But I submit that if our motive and motivation in doing so is to shame that person or puff out our chests because we "have it right," our efforts are done merely to glorify ourselves. That will probably lead to shaming the other person and causing their defensiveness and bitterness. Jesus left people better than how He found them. He provided the Truth wrapped soundly in grace, mercy, and love. He had to...He is the embodiment of all of those things. There is no other way for Him.
"All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work." 2 timothy 3:16-17
If we're using tactics that are opposite of what Jesus used, then we are wrong. The Word of God is for edifying, not tearing down. The result of the Word of God will and should always lead to righteousness. If our actions are intended to lead to shame or guilt and not repentance and relationship, we aren't doing God's work. If our tactics are to elevate ourselves in any way, we are not humbled or submitted to God's Will.
If our tactics match those of the enemy, we need to take a closer look in the mirror and identify exactly who we're partnered with and what our true motives are.
We've been entrusted with beautiful, eternal work by the Lord Himself. We are not the Holy Spirit. It is not our responsibility to convict or change anyone.
It's not our job to slam the door, literally or figuratively, in the face of anyone the Lord puts in our path. Because we've deemed someone as missing the mark, we often write them off and ridicule them all the way to hell. But what if the Lord put them in our paths, counting on us to love the way Jesus loved and instead we condemn and scold?
We have work to do. BIG, important work and we can't afford to move toward our own agenda. We've been given our walking orders and even a living example of how to carry them out. We must emulate the One who did it perfectly and trust that He will see it through to completion. We are to be bold and obedient while also approaching others with our faces to the ground in humility.
Please, approach others who are lost with grace, grace, and more grace. They. Are. Lost. That does not equate to them being the enemy.
"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places." Ephesians 6:12
We have one enemy and the man or woman standing in front of us is not it. We will never win the battle of spiritual warfare by emulating the enemy. Let's be intent on approaching these assignments we're given in the way Jesus did.