Evangelism, Gentleness, Growth/Maturity, Mentoring, Miscellaneous, Salvation

Put That Bible Down!

Now that I have your attention, the title of this blog was a lesson I learned when I found myself trying to minister to unbelievers. I remember becoming upset and frustrated, and feeling mocked and disrespected because I was “pushing” the Bible on someone that 1) had no clue of my scripture references and 2) became upset because I was judging them by statutes in, to them, a foreign language.

I grew up learning the Great Commission: “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20 NIV) When I became serious about my Christian walk, I took this charge to heart. But I went about things in the wrong way.

When faced with friends and family members that didn’t believe the Word of God, enjoyed challenging the Word of God, or desired to mock the Word of God, I would find myself in a series of heated discussions that resulted in nothing. The outcomes were not prosperous. When I would see a friend delving into wayward ways such as drug addictions, gossiping, lying and the like, I would try to “encourage” them by sharing God’s scriptures and how He saved me. But yet again, my approach made them feel little. What I’ve come to learn is sharing scriptures with someone who does not know what they mean is like teaching grammar in German to a class of English speaking children. It’s fruitless and both parties become irritated.

By all means, I do not mean put your Bible away, because in order to reach those that are lost, you MUST know God’s Word and hide it in your heart so that you know how to react under all circumstances. But we have to be mindful of our approach. Hell is irrelevant to someone that has no spiritual knowledge of it. So telling someone they are going to hell for sinning does not reach the heart. In the book of Colossians we learn: Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Colossians 4:5-6 NIV) When faced with unbelievers and in a quest to encourage our brothers and sisters in the way of Christ, we have to be wise, living examples. Again, this means we have to KNOW the Word so that we can LIVE the Word and in turn encourage others to be imitators of Christ, by our actions.

Learning to take the “Faith Walk” approach, opposed to the “Slap them with the Bible” approach, I’ve had people ask me, “Well how do you forgive people the way you do?” “How do you love so and so the way you do?” What this tells me is that if I can imitate Christ, when unbelievers inquire then I can introduce them to Christ and gracefully and compassionately guide them to establishing their own relationship with Him. Have you ever heard of the phrase, “actions speak louder than words”? People will look at your actions before they listen to what you say. If they see you survive trials, not judge them in their mess, love them in kindness and patience, and speak power and encouragement in all things, I guarantee they will question that “something” you have. This is when the opportunity to introduce Christ presents itself.

My title may seem a tad harsh, but my point is this: We can reach those that are lost by our lifestyle and our actions. Condemning unbelievers with scripture rarely leaves either party encouraged. But if you can hide God’s Word in your heart, live it out loudly, and love them as God teaches us to, the opportunity will present itself for them to inquire about the love of God and you can then witness to them through wisdom and compassion.

Remember this: “Do not repay evil with evil or insult with insult. On the contrary, repay evil with blessing, because to this you were called so that you may inherit a blessing.” (1 Peter 3:9 NIV) Therefore, do not argue with unbelievers, you may miss an opportunity to witness to them and those around them. It is not about you; to God be the glory.

Dear Daddy,

Thank You for revealing to me that You are love (1 John 4:8) and that love is an action (1 Corinthians 13:4-7) I must live out. Teach me how to love those that appear to be lost just as Jesus did and speak to them kindly, with respect, and out of compassion. When the time presents itself, help me to be ready to introduce them to a relationship with You for Your Word promises me, “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” (John 12:32 KJV) In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

Ladies, I EMPOWER you to be an imitator of Christ. Do not allow your family members, friends, or strangers to cause you to misrepresent Christ due to becoming frustrating by their lack of belief. Instead, stand firm on your belief, “show” them Christ in your graceful and humble walk, and they will soon see for themselves that Jesus is the answer.

Do you have a hard time evangelizing to others because you turn them off with Bible bashing? Have you been able to meet people where they are to introduce them to Christ? Share your story with us in the comment section below.

Read a related EmpowerMoment: Remember Where You Came From

___________________________________________________________________

As a professional, Mrs. Khalilah Burton is a College Biology Instructor. She is also currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Higher Ed and Community College Leadership. Khalilah is passionate about her faith journey and uses this key scripture as her inspiration: “But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isaiah 40:31 KJV) She and her husband serve as Co-Service leaders and Co-Group leaders of SustainedLove, which supports marriage get-a-ways from Family Life. Khalilah also serves as a guest speaker and panelist for various events for women and Christian empowerment. Khalilah resides in Millbrook, Alabama with her wonderful husband Donald Burton, Jr. and their two daughters. They attend Vaughn Forest Church. Check out Khalilah’s Christian weight loss blog here.

Advertisements

9 thoughts on “Put That Bible Down!”

  1. This was excellent!!! We have been currently learning at church bible study about sharing our faith and testimony with others too. We have learned that you have to be genuine, if can cultivate a friendship with the person, get to know them, and yes don’t come with an approach that makes them wounded. We have to not only know the Word, share our testimony and deliver the message of reconciliation with God but we are to walk in love! I loved your Em Khalilah!! Thanks!

  2. So timely! Just yesterday, a homosexual friend posted a video entitled “Chow Down at Chick-Fli-A”. Another friend, who is a christian, commented saying that she thought the video was hilarious. I sent her a private message asking how she could find something that mocked our Savior so funny. Her response was that God would have the last word and that she didn’t allow the things the world did to affect her. I’m still trying to figure out in my mind how someone who claims the name of Jesus can find it funny when non-believers make fun of the Christ that saved them. Got any thoughts on that?

    1. Hi Ginnie,

      Many times we profess the Word of God, but don’t actually have a relationship with him or even understand His statutes. I’ve been there. I was raised in a Baptist home, but it wasn’t until I became older that I understood who God truly is and that he could care less about tradition, religion, practices, etc, but about our sincere worship (that’s a whole ‘nother post).

      We can’t lose sleep over what we “think” a person’s motive is. Only God knows the heart. When we have people that “miss the mark” in our own opinions, it is then we have to seek God and ask Him, 1) Lord, why am I so wrapped up in this person’s actions? 2) Lord help me to see what i need to see. And 3) Lord, please position my heart to help if needed or to move on if this is not where I need to place my focus.

      It’s hard when you feel Christians mock God, but the reality is, who determines a person’s “level” per say of Christianity? That is not our cross to bear. Our job is to lift the Savior up in spirit and in truth, and He will take care of the rest.

      When I’m faced with instances such as yours, I’ve found it best “not” to comment because I’m usually responding out of emotion opposed to spiritual concern. When I’m spiritually concerned about someone, I pray for them in secret. My actions usually speak louder.

      Thank you for such an awesome question.

      -Khalilah

  3. Well said and right on time. It is very easy to come across as being self righteous, when you are simply sharing the word of God. There is a way to do everything, and because leading someone to Christ is so important, we must do it wisely. Thanks Kay. This was for me. Actions do speak louder than words because truthfully, everyone is watching.

  4. Amen! I appreciate your “new approach” to witnessing to people! Like you mentioned before, people can get turned off when you quote them scriptures.

  5. So..i messed up bad. I tried sharing the Lord and witnessing to a friend for over 10 months. first it was going well..then stress, frustration etc..ugh it got ugly. I feel so horrible and the thought that my actions have hardened this person is unbearable. Well all the sudden person said..”I will never believe in God. Leave me alone. We have nothing”. I don’t know..i thought i prayed and followed God’s lead but impatience got me. Any advice? It seems like theres no hope to even talk to this friend again. Help!

  6. Zurri, I appreciate your sincerity.

    I definitely do not think you “messed” up, but with everything, timing is important. You planted seeds, but God’s love is unconditional, that means, under every condition you are to love them and be patient. Jesus said, “if I be lifted up, I’ll draw all men unto me” (John 12:32, this is figurative). You lifted Him up, now Jesus will do the drawing. We want to be in harmony with our brothers and sisters, yet there is a fine line to being yoked with unbelievers. The Bible warns us not to do so (2Corinthians 6:14). With that said, be very careful and discerning that you do not come to the point that you judge this person for their choice (God will handle that part), but show the love of God in your actions. Actions speak louder than words. I would apologize to them for the stress and “ugly” part and then leave it there. Some things need time to heal and air out. You don’t want to apologize for sharing God’s word, but if your actions were “ugly and stressful” then apologize for that. Let sweetness rest on your tongue and intensely pray for this person’s salvation and that you learn to discern God’s cues when you are witnessing.

    You didn’t mess up, you’re just learning.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s