How to Relax When Sharing the Gospel
Chris really wants his non-Christian friend, Sally, to trust in Jesus. He shared the gospel with her, but Sally keeps coming back with more and more objections–some of which are stumping Chris. The disagreement intensifies. Both take it personally. Voices are raised, and tempers flare. Finally, Sally is out the door.
I’ve seen Christians lose their cool in evangelism. Heck, I’ve done it, too. And it can potentially destroy any future opportunity for the unsaved to trust in Jesus. Many of these events occur on the social networks which are quite impersonal.
Here’s something to keep in mind that will help you relax when you’re engaged in evangelism.
Don’t argue. When someone disagrees with you about who Christ is, or if God exists, don’t take it personally. Jesus, Himself, said that if they reject you, they are really rejecting Him (Luke 10:16). There’s no room for arguments in evangelism. I don’t even like to debate with people. Most of those “debates” aren’t very productive in evangelism, and they can actually do more harm than good. A good rule of thumb: arguments push the unbeliever away.
Debates (which is a friendly word for arguments) are usually formats for each party to show how smart and well-read they are. Although some people are good at keeping a debate on the level of love and respect (and debates do have their place), debates easily end up doing the job only the Holy Spirit can do: bring conviction. I’d like to suggest another format for discussion.
Give them freedom. Instead of arguing, give the non-Christian freedom to disagree with you. It’s not showing weakness. In fact, it’s showing good sportsmanship. Another way to put this is that it’s showing the love of Christ.
1 Peter 3:15 says to always be prepared to give an answer with gentleness and respect. This means to provide the answer with a smile. When an unbeliever disagrees with something I said, I like to respond with one word, “OK.” Both of us already provided our points-of-view. Arguing directs their thoughts to more and more objections. Freedom to disagree directs their thoughts to dwelling on my point-of-view. So I like to state my case, and then give the Holy Spirit room to work.
Giving them freedom to disagree touches their hearts in such a way that they want to think about our point-of-view. Arguing shuts that door.
Our job is to provide the message, not to argue. The Holy Spirit is the One to bring the conviction. So smile at the disagreer. Their perspective is real to them, and our love toward them opens the door for the Holy Spirit to do His work. And instead of tense discussion, we’re able to relax and provide an atmosphere of Christ’s love. And it’s the expression of His love that impacts the non-Christian the most.