An old friend messaged me recently, with a question. She said, "I really want to do mission trips and give my heart to third world. However, I struggle with being open minded on others' religion. I know Christ is the ultimate, but I like hearing about what others believe in and I don't know if I'm able to break the barrier to break someone's belief."
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Before responding to her question, I affirmed the importance of listening. We cannot hope to ever deliver the "gospel" (or the good news) to anyone who isn't exactly like us, unless we listen to them first and figure out where they are coming from. The good news of Jesus is universal, but we all have different next steps for getting from where we are to where we need to be. Listening is the first step to relationally and applicably sharing the good news of Christ.
My first response to her question was to inquire upon my friend's understanding of the bible. If we accept scripture as infallible truth, there are plenty of reasons to try to convince people of the truth of Jesus, or "break someone's belief," because scripture says that their only hope is in the truth about God regardless of what they believe in their present situation.
We walked through the history of the New Testament, and talked about why it's believable that it has been guided without flaw by the Holy Spirit. By being sure of scripture, and knowing what it has to say, we know that we are all separate from God but he made a way through Jesus,Jesus is God, Jesus is the only way to heaven, that we have the mission to proclaim his name, and that he will give us power and guide our witness.If we believe these things, we have an invaluable invitation to bring to the world, and we have been blessed with the opportunity to join God by delivering that invitation.
When we we're talking about what "truth" is, my friend told me that she has seen the power of the truth of Jesus in her life. He has brought renewal and transformation into a life that begun to spiral downward and had seemed to have lost hope. This is her witness her firsthand testimony to the power that she has seen, and why she knows it to be true. Being able to witness to these truths is critical, we must tell of what we've seen.
My friend also had the valid concern that a believer might come across as saying"look at how fortunate we are compared to you so clearly we are right." And truthfully,I suppose it could be received that way but it would either be because perception or delivery is jacked up.
We simply cannot be afraid of being judged as being mean or condemning. The truth is that we are neither. We cannot be afraid of pushing people away from God- the only thing we can do by messing up is to remove ourselves of the blessing of seeing his word fulfill it's purpose. The word will do exactly as it's intended to, and then it's between that person and God. If you we're a jerk in presenting it, they probably won't talk to you again- but it won't push them away from God, that's on them.
At the end of the day, if we present the gospel correctly, we aren't being mean or condemning. The message that we have is true. Humanity is in rebellion, but God made a way for us to come back into life with him. God offers us renewal in this life, a purpose in this life, and hope of an eternal future. The purpose of being a witness is to tell of what you've seen and what you know. We will receive power as the Holy Spirit comes on us, and we will be his witnesses. The rest is between the hearer and God, we're not responsible for the result, only the delivery.
As you go out to share the good news,remember that with every step you take you're representing the God of the Universe. You will be foolish at times, and you will make mistakes, and he will use them for his own glory. You won't mess up what he is doing in the world, but you CAN remove yourself from being part of his mission by being unsure of what you're saying, being afraid of being judged or misunderstood, or by being afraid that you'll mess it up.
Don't remove yourself from the blessing of being part of God's mission. Become sure of what you're saying, and be bold with it when the time is right!
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