Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Are We Evangelizing the Way We are Meant to Do?

This post is written by our friend Nuren who came to Christ a few years ago from Hindu background. Nuren maintains his website ComeOnDesis where he writes and gathers inspirational and positive articles based on the theme of Christianity. Are We Evangelizing the Way We are Meant to Do? – Notes on Evangelism from a Former Unbeliever

I often share this little story with my Christian friends.

A thief breaks into a pastor’s home one night while he is sleeping. When the thief is about to leave after stealing to his satisfaction, he finds the pastor’s Bible on the reading table.

Intrigued by the book, the thief starts reading it randomly. It turns out to be the Gospel of John. He finds a person called Jesus making extraordinary claims about himself like “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me”. After reading the Gospel of John, the thief realizes that he is a sinner.

The thief wants to get baptized and become a follower of Christ by worshipping God in spirit and truth. Overwhelmed by the joy of knowing Christ, he tries to wake up the pastor. But the pastor is in deep sleep. The thief wakes him up again. No, the priest does not wake up this time too. So, the thief goes to a refrigerator, grabs some snacks and comes back. He gives few more nudges to the pastor to wake him up but of no use.

The thief gets tired and falls asleep. When the pastor gets up in the morning, he is shocked to find someone sleeping near his feet. The pastor screams with fear. The thief wakes up and immediately explains his Gospel experience begging the pastor to baptize him with water.

The thief runs out to a near-by well and draws out water to fill up a big tub. The pastor baptizes the thief, and the thief is filled with joyful tears.

While the above example may seem to be unrealistic, as if a lost soul coming to Christ happens so quickly, I do not think it is impossible. Because God is always working. Though in a real world, it is generally a slow process that an unbeliever is seeking the truth and coming to Christ by himself. There are many people involved in witnessing Christ to an unbeliever whether they do it knowingly or unknowingly.

Though some of my friends tell me that I was proactive in seeking the truth and studying about Jesus, these are some of the people who opened me up to know more about the Lord.

  • A missionary friend who I respect for her friendly nature
  • An hospitable Christian couple who I visit regularly ( mostly for the delicious food they serve )
  • A compassionate pastor who has adopted an orphan
  • A Christian friend who took time to visit me on the weekends to teach me free guitar lessons
  • An elderly Kenyan ministry woman who showered her motherly love on me
  • An elderly missionary couple who witnessed Christ to young friends like me through their time, by volunteering in various activities.

However, I don’t think these people influenced me to make a decision about becoming a Christian. It is God Himself who enabled my heart to seek after Him in Christ, and it is in Christ where I am convinced of the perfect and true nature of the living God.

Many unbelievers are sincere and have good questions. They will open up their minds to knowing Christ if we as Christians accept them first with a genuine friendship. But many times the fruits of Spirit especially such as love and gentleness are not manifested in our lives; we try to use only logic or condemn them in a priggish manner. Sometimes we directly attack their theories and philosophies without even understanding where they are coming from. We should pray for God’s insight to respond unbelievers with wisdom and power. To some unbelievers, our responses must be very direct, but to some, our responses must be just suggesting, and God will reveal His truth to them at His own time.

The two most important reasons that we evangelize unbelievers are because firstly our Lord said so, and secondly that we love them and are concerned about them sincerely about their life and eternity. If we remind ourselves of how sinful we were, and how our Lord Jesus Christ died for us while we were yet sinners, is it difficult to learn to be more loving and accepting, when responding to an unbeliever?

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