I heard a preacher say that many Christians yell, “Persecution!” when they have merely thrown rocks into the air and stood under them as they fell. What he was getting at was the anger and hostility many of us receive when we try to share our faith with people we know nothing about, or who have made it clear that they are not interested in what we have to say. There are such things as spiritual abuse and religious assault of which many believers are guilty.
A quick review of the four New Testament gospels will reveal a Jesus who never accosted anyone who wasn’t interested in His teachings–with one exception. The hypocritical religious leaders of His day. With them, He never missed an opportunity to expose their self-righteousness and arrogance.
But the ordinary, garden variety people of His time came to Him because of His reputation as an honest, decent, God-fearing person who respected downtrodden and sin-sick folks.
Mike Warnke was an ex-drug dealer and ex-satanist priest turned preacher when I heard him in the 1980s. He said, “God doesn’t want us to scare the hell out of people. He wants us to love the hell out of them.”
Peter offered the best advice for those who want to give a testimony of what Jesus means to us and how God has changed our lives because of His mercy and grace. It is found in 1 Peter 3:13-15.
“Who is there to harm you if you prove zealous for what is good? But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. Do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence.” (NASB)
The key to effective sharing of faith is to get to know people well, and allow them to get to know us well. Then be ready to answer questions when they are asked, and do so with an attitude of respect, and of reverence to God rather than fear of people. It is getting to know each other which is so very important before meddling with someone else’s soul.