Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Non-consensual Evangelism.

In this post, it isn't my objective to offend anyone with the comparison that I am about to make, but it is my hope to raise awareness of subject that every believer should take to heart.
The comparison is in no way meant to diminish the trauma or anguish one has experienced.
Reader discretion is advised.

I'm sitting here and I am trying to think of how to say what I feel like I need to say. I have the message in mind but it isn't something that I can say carelessly. What I really want is for believers to see is the gravity of their actions of the eternal spectrum, and not take it lightly.
If you know me you know that evangelism and being there for people is a significant part of my life. In the life of the believer we are called to share our faith. We are called to let people know the good news that there is redemption from sin and we can have new life, abundantly.

I was talking to a friend of mine recently about the subject of faith. He was telling me about a guy at his job who was so... lets say zealous, to get other people to know about his faith that he wouldn't let up on it. He would push it on people. He wouldn't listen to what they had to say because as they were speaking he was too busy trying to talk over them in order to push his faith harder upon them.

I see this as very wrong.

In a lot of churches we have this mentality that we have to go out and save the world. We pride ourselves on what we do for the kingdom.  "I went out to the street corner with a bull horn and yelled a message to 500 people about how evil they are and how they are going to hell, then 2 came up our of fear and wanted to know how to escape it."

The kingdom of God is built upon relationships.

Take a moment and think about this comparison.

The first command given to man is to be fruitful and multiply. God tells Adam to go "have relations" with his wife.  This is a good and righteous thing.
We know that when two people are married, That there is that intimacy. There is that relationship.  After they have gotten to know each other and spent time together, THEN they into a covenant, that they both have agreed to.

What is the opposite of this?

Rape. It's defined as :
"the unlawful compelling of a person through physical force or duress to have sexual intercourse."

Rape is such an ugly word, with such a horrible definition, that I almost didn't write this post. However I am compelled for the sake of the kingdom to continue. You may be asking what rape has to do with evangelism and I am working to make that point. AS you go out to share your faith, keep in mind that you have a relationship with God. Through his seeking you, you sought him, you connected and you accepted him, thus you walk together.

He didn't force himself on anyone.
when you are sharing your faith, your heart needs to be treating the event like a courtship. Communicating together. Listening to each other. Facing burdens together. Celebrating together.  In this action you will show who ever you are ministering to, what the Savior is in you.  You show them love.  You show them love by showing them how to love.  Just as God did you.  The goal is to share the relationship you have with God, with them, so that they might know the joy and peace of God in their life.

If you goal is anything other than that... Don't even open your mouth.

If we are going out to "evangelize" to make us feel good. TO make us feel like we are bring something to the kingdom. So that we may boast that we saved someone. That we led them to Christ, ... then how much of what we know of the Gospel is really based off of our selfishness instead of  serving GOD?

So often we go out and we run into a person, or maybe we have known them for years, and we push Jesus on them. We tell them how wrong their life is, without ever knowing them.  We tell them how filthy we they are, by our actions. instead of looking at them like people, we objectify them as a means for our own personal gratification.  We force our beliefs on them, and in doing this we do not giving a good demonstration of  God.Check your heart before you do anything "for" God. Look in Matt 7:21-23

Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter. Many will say to Me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’

Where does that leave the recipient? It leaves them hurt, and broken. Feeling even more distant from God. It leaves them feeling angry. They didn't see His compassion. They only saw your thirst to appear righteous.

It's like rape.

God is big enough to help some people get past it. Sometimes some people heal and forgive.
but they all remember how they felt.  How you made them feel.

If you want to share the word of God with someone, and they don't want it, then shut up. No means no. Do not push.
Pray, and serve them. Be an example of righteous living. Deal with them with compassion and mercy. Be gracious toward them. You aren't going to change their mind. Only God can change their heart. Your job is to be obedient.

When you learn to serve, you learn to be less selfish. When you serve, people listen. People listen because they can see you care. When people know that you care more than anything, then they will be open to hearing what you have to say.

I write all this in wisdom, having failed at this so many times.  I write this in hopes that you can learn from my failures. That you may examine your heart and how you approach people.

Even if you have a genuine love for people, make sure you aren't going about the wrong way.
The wrong way for the right reasons can still be destructive. Pray about it first. Pray pray pray.

remember when the disciples were fishing, doing everything in their power to catch something, anything... and not getting anywhere. It wasn't until they listened to the Messiah and followed what he instructed that they cast their nets on the other side and pulled up the haul.

There isn't anything wrong with sharing faith. We must share our faith in order to grow. We just have got to be sure that when we initiate, they are open to receive it.

Pray then do.
More God, less you.