Sharing the Gospel, Respecting the People

I went into the Dollar Store the other day to pick up a few things and saw that the line was forever long.  Then I saw why.  “No ma’am, I’m not selling anything.  We’re just spreading the Gospel.”  The already behind cashier tried to move on, but the persistent evangelist kept going.

Two things stuck out to me.  One, more Christians should be bold enough to witness to people we run into in public.  Kudos to the man trying to win someone to Christ.  But two, I am very sure that the cashier and the dozen people in line were not at all interested in what this man had to say.  They were only interested in getting through the line and moving on with their day.  (I know I was!)

All in all, the man did more damage than good.  We have to be careful how we represent Christ.  1 Peter 3:15 tells us to “always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have.”  But remember the second part of that verse.  “But do this with gentleness and respect.”  There is nothing worse than someone pushing something on you.  (Just think how you feel when a telemarketer calls you in the middle of dinner.)

I can remember waiting tables in college.  I hated to wait on church groups.  Why?  Because they were the least respectful people that came through the restaurant.  They were typically rude and were notoriously bad tippers.  But they always managed to let you know where they went to church!  I had lost co-workers who were turned off of Christianity because instead of a tip, they got a tract!

We must be persistent with our sharing of the gospel.  It is commanded that all Christians “make disciples”.  But remember that for the message to be received, we must give it with respect.  James 2 tells us to share our faith by meeting physical needs.  Philippians 2 tells us that we are to put others ahead of ourselves.  However we promote the gospel, we must do it in a loving and respectful way.

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