Some common misconceptions I hear people make about me go something like this:
“evangelism comes easy for you”
“you love to debate with people about Christianity”
“you have a natural love for sharing the gospel”
That’s not necessarily true. The truth – if I’m completely honest – is that I don’t really like to evangelize. It is extremely hard for me to start conversations with people about God – especially when I know they don’t believe like I do. When I schedule a day to go witnessing, I sometimes look (and double check) for reasons to not go out.
Why? Let me give you a brief glimpse into my life since I started sharing the gospel. I have lost friends, been labelled as a narrow minded bible thumper, accused of being unloving and intolerant, laughed at, ridiculed, mocked and made fun of, screamed at, falsely accused, misunderstood, and sometimes even worse of all – ignored. Fellow Christians have even called my motives into question and criticized my “methods”. I personally, do not like all of that. I am not a glutton for punishment, and I don’t get satisfaction from not fitting in.
Sure, I have seen the good fruit as well. I’ve seen people come to Christ. I’ve prayed with tear-filled people on the streets as they realized for the first time the true goodness of God to forgive their sins. I’ve witnessed people I’ve walked alongside grow in their faith. But, I’ve also seen many people reject the gospel. I’ve seen the glazed look on people’s faces as they are completely lost in what I’m saying – despite all my best efforts to tell them the gospel as clearly as I can. I’ve seen people who seemed to understand the gospel eventually walk away from it. Even my people! People I loved and prayed for and walked with. Now they see me as some arrogant holy roller who they want nothing to do with. Yes – I’ve seen it all, and to be honest, I sometimes wish I didn’t have to deal with any of it.
So why? Why spend my years preaching the gospel? Why pursue a ministry dedicated to spreading this message that has brought so much division to my life? Why??? Because I believe it is true! I am compelled to preach it with all my might because if it is true, then the people I love will spend an eternity in agony and torment if they don’t receive it. Therefore it is my duty – my obligation – to preach this message so that they all would have at least the opportunity to receive it.
I often liken myself to a fireman running into a burning building to save those who otherwise would die in flames. The main difference is that those I endeavor to rescue are not like those sitting in a burning building waiting and hoping to be saved. “There is no one who understands, no one who seeks God” (Romans 3:11). The ones I endeavor to save do not believe they are on fire and see no need for the salvation I talk about. They love the flames, run to them, and resist me for trying to save them. However, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16).
If some might be saved by my preaching of this gospel, then I will – with all of my ability – learn to preach it with as much clarity and conviction as possible. If my being shamed by the world means salvation for some, then I wear the shame as a badge of honor and a token of love. I will allow my love, compassion and agony for the lost overtake my desire to fit in and be accepted.