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.
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.