Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Why are we so hesitant to share the Gospel?

This is something I've struggled with over the years. Christians are clearly called to share the good news and to spread the Gospel to all corners of the world. However, it is easier to write a check for the missions budget of the local church or to financially support a missionary organization than it is to talk to our next door neighbor. If I know someone is already a Christian, I can talk God all day long, but if there is any doubt about their faith, I find myself tongue-tied and reluctant to talk.

This past Sunday, my pastor was continuing his sermon series on the book of Acts. His scripture this time was Acts 17, specifically Paul's sermon in the Areopagus. He pointed out that whenever the Gospel is preached, there will be one of three responses. The hearer will either reject the message, reconsider their position, or will come to repentance.

What does this have to do with sharing the Gospel? Human nature. It finally clicked in my head that what muzzles me is that first possible response. I fear their rejection. I've struggled with this before in other areas. I care, probably too much, about what other people think about me, and I jealously guard whatever good reputation I think I have. Since I fear rejection, that stifles my witness.

I think this is unfortunately true for too many of us. We are called to live in the world but not be of it, yet we worry what the world thinks of us. First, we need to remember that when someone rejects the Gospel, they are ultimately rejecting God and His message, not us. Yes, as the messenger, that rejection frequently follows onto us, but we are not the ultimate target of the rejection. Second, Christ warned that just as He was rejected, so too would we be rejected. If the world is NOT rejecting us, then perhaps we are doing something wrong. Or, as the teacher in my small group put it, as we mature in Christ, we should feel more and more uncomfortable living in the world.

Are you sharing the Gospel every opportunity you have, or do you hold back? Do you worry more about what your neighbor or co-worker thinks about you, or more about what they know of God?

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.
Numbers 6:24-26 (ESV)


  1. I think it's because of the PC police... I know we run into that at work. Religion is OFF LIMITS at work!

    1. There is definitely an element of that, but I was also thinking just of my own personal reluctance to share.

  2. I'm often put off by Christians who seem to use the Bible as a club with which to bash unbelievers over the head. I prefer the approach of St. Francis of Assissi. "Preach the Gospel at all times. If necessary, use words."

  3. Peter is right.

    I reject the gospel, but I have many dear friends who are Christians. The ones I respect the most are the ones who live their lives as they feel god would like them to. Most of them know that I don't share their faith, and they don't push it on me.

    Let me give you an example.

    Some years ago, I was working outside and building a new fence. As I worked, two Mormon missionaries rode up on bicycles and asked if I had a moment to discuss their faith. In response, I asked if they could swing hammers and hang plumb-bobs. The result was that I got two young and eager helpers and had the fence done in record time.

    Through our conversation, they quickly learned that I eschew all Christian faiths, but that didn't deter them from continuing to help me in my labor. The conversation quickly turned to other non-religious topics while we worked, and that was fine with me.

    To this day I still hold Mormons in high regard, not because of their faith which I do not share, but because of their virtues.